PIKEVILLE, Ky. (WYMT) Churches and organizations in Pike County joined together Thursday to help fill a need in the community.
"There's obviously a need here," said organizer Paul Maynard. "There's people that may not have had a Thanksgiving dinner."
Maynard was one of more than 300 volunteers who worked to make sure those people had access to hot meals.
"We just want people to know the love of Christ," Maynard said.
More than 20 churches throughout Pike County were contacted and asked how many meals they needed to help people in their areas. Those churches came together at the Appalachian Wireless Arena on Thanksgiving to help serve, pack and deliver those meals.
"We just felt the burden to help these people," Maynard said. "What a wonderful way to do it than to cross denomination lines and have churches come together as 'One Church' and put this dinner on."
He said more than 6,200 meals were delivered by the One Church volunteers and hundreds were served on-site or taken out by people who dropped in.
"Saw a lot of happiness spread. A lot of cheer. People were very appreciative. So, you know, it's good to be a part of that," said Larry Miller, assistant general manager of the Appalachian Wireless Arena.
The total number of meals served this year is estimated at nearly 7,000. Organizers say this year's service provided 2,000 more meals than last year. Maynard says the first event, held in 2016, only provided 750 meals.
"In four years' time you can see where the need is at," Maynard said. "It has grown exponentially."
That growth, according to organizer Adam Akers, comes as a result of the churches serving the community as a united body.
"It was unreal. It's growing every year," Akers said. "To show the love of Christ. To show that the love of God is in us and we want to help those in need."
He said the work requires a lot of planning and help from the people who gathered to create One Church, which is why the organization is already thinking about next year's event.
"We start early. We're gonna start planning in February. And, hopefully, we'll do 10,000 meals next year," Akers said.
To find out how to be a part of One Church, or keep up with its mission, visit its Facebook page .