Salado church volunteers serve up warm meals, smiles at I-35 rest stops

Christy Smith and her son Thatcher were on their way to Dallas for Thanksgiving. On their way up I-35, they decided to stop for a break in Salado.

“We just had to stop at the rest stop and we are pleasantly surprised by these amazing people,” she said.

The people she is talking about are volunteers and members from the Salado United Methodist Church. They served meals at both north and southbound I-35 Bell County rest stops to any travelers who stop by.

“So many stop here mainly to use the restroom facilities. But you know what, they find something really special on their stops here,” said church member Rita Rice.

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“I saw a TxDOT sign that said Thanksgiving dinner is being served at the rest stop and I thought certainly someone is playing around at TxDOT and has a good sense of humor. Sure enough, it's all these amazing people,” said Smith.

The church has been doing the tradition for more than a decade...and hope to continue the tradition for years to come.

“Some of them say oh we are on our way to Dallas to eat, but maybe I’ll have a little cookie, or perhaps a piece of pie. But many are on longer trips and will join us to eat,” said event chairperson Marsha Brown.

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Rice says last year they served more than 500 people, and they may surpass that this year once the count comes in. The church members believe that coming out to the rest stops on Thanksgiving is worth every minute of their time, if they can help spread love to travelers.

“Thanksgiving is a really special time, especially now, just to be grateful for what we have. It's so easy to be looking forward and always wanting more. I just love the opportunity just to stop and be thankful for what we already have,” said Smith.