WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — Many folks have Thanksgiving traditions, maybe even traditions passed down through generations.

Evangel Church has a tradition of its own, providing turkeys and an open door.

The pastors noticed how many locals weren’t going to have a Thanksgiving meal 18 years ago.

To meet those needs, they encouraged church members to chip in for turkeys.

Now it has become a yearly staple, not only for recipients but for church leaders themselves.

“I feel very blessed,” Turkey Day recipient Sebastiano Valenti said.

Valenti is just one of more than 200 who are thankful for a generous donation from the church family.

“Receiving this turkey today is gonna make my Thanksgiving dinner, but without the help of the Lord Jesus Christ, I would not be having a turkey dinner this year,” Valenti said.

Valenti is set for Thursday with a turkey in hand and a refreshing service from evangel church.

A church that’s dedicated to outreach ministry and hands-on servitude in its community.

“We don’t believe the church should be a country club for the Christians, we believe it should be a hospital for the hurting,” Evangel Church senior pastor Kile Bateman said.

So for the 18th year in a row, they opened the doors to all who need that special holiday bird to make Thanksgiving a little better this year.

This is something Kile Bateman knows from both sides.

“Those who dream, that’s all I did, that’s all I could do when I was a kid, we didn’t have money to do anything other than dream,” Kile Bateman said. “Even when I saw the children come up today, I made mention to one of our parishioners, I said ‘man I would’ve dreamed of having a day like this when I was that kid’s age.'”

A day that means more than just turkey for many who take part.

“This didn’t happen through corporate sponsorships, this happened through children giving $15 here or there, or families making a sacrifice all year long and sowing into the lives of others,” Evangel Church lead pastor Patti Bateman said.

Even some who received a turkey gave what they could in offerings to the church that gives so much to them.

“They do wonders for this, not just Turkey Day but they help out on the third Saturdays of the month, they give out a food pantry, they really go out and do God’s work like He wants them to.”

Helping those who otherwise would go without during this holiday season, one turkey at a time.

Evangel Church hosts “Dream Center Saturday” from 9:30 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. on the third Saturday of the month at the Evangel Gymnasium.

There they offer food, clothing, books, prescription medicine cards, encouragement and ministry.

That’s how many learned of Turkey Day.