Members of the Prince Hall DeWitt Masonic Lodge No. 429 put on a cookout for anyone who stopped by under the Gentry Parkway bridge in Tyler on Tuesday.
The cookout took place a few blocks northeast of downtown Tyler. Lodge President Byron Davis Sr. said the event came about because of the group's canceled trail ride. Since the ride got rained out, the organization decided to give the food they were going to eat at the event - hot dogs, Earl Campbell hot links and beans - away to the community. They had enough to feed 200 people.
Jaime Claudio, 58, was one of the people who ate the meal.
"Y'all are awesome," he said as he went through the serving line.
Claudio, who was born in San Francisco but raised in New York, has only been in Tyler for 22 days.
Although he initially thought he was just going to pass through, he said he likes the city so far and just might stay.
"Everybody's been very hospitable," the Vietnam veteran said.
Marcus Williams, 36, of Tyler, said the meal was a blessing.
"It's good anytime you can come down and bless your community like that," he said of the people serving. "It's a good thing."
Kevin Hampton and C.R. Gipson were among the lodge members who served the meals.
Gipson called it a blessing from God to be able to do this. Hampton said it's an opportunity to serve.
"This is something that as Masons and being Christians and Americans and the whole nine yards, this is what it's all about," Hampton said.
FREE THANKSGIVING MEALS
Who:Hiway 80 Rescue Mission
When: Noon to 12:30 p.m. Wednesday
Where: West Erwin Church of Christ Benevolence Center, 215 S. Bonner St., Tyler
Who: The Salvation Army
When: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday
Where: Center of Hope Dining Room, 633 N. Broadway Ave., Tyler