Just a hop, skip and a jump over at the McBride Senior Center the aroma of Thanksgiving Dinner was wafting through the halls.
Brewster can't imagine spending Thanksgiving without her mom and thinks of others who can't.
"Everything we've done in here, we've put love doing things for other people makes my day", Chary Goffigan said. "I hope it lasts for another 50 years".
"It's rewarding to come together as a group and work together as a community as well as seeing how it is such a blessing to others", Gratz said.
Perhaps more importantly, no one dined alone - a key concept when the first meal was organized in 1968 by Pauline Johnson and the late Addie Spicher at the former East Topeka United Methodist Church.
Eash said the food is donated or purchased with donations to the church.
The meals are prepared at the Baptist Campus Ministry on Eastern Kentucky University's campus at University Drive, which lends it kitchen to the organization to cook and prepare meals throughout the year.
From St. Joseph, Lizbeth Rodriguez, 13, started helping at 7 a.m. Thursday. The church receives 20 turkeys each year.
"It's nice cause a lot of people that we've delivered to in the past are really people who need a meal and someone to cheer them up". "We use ovens in about all the churches around town". "It really is just ordinary people doing a big service to the community".
Pastor Neil Taylor said the meal was a way to bring the community together to celebrate the holiday each year.
All the traditional holiday foods were served, including turkey, cranberries, corn, stuffing, potatoes, gravy, carrots, squash and pies, but in honor of the 30th anniversary, each guest got a dixie cup of ice cream.
"We said, 'Wow, I want to do that'". It benefits the homeless in the community, especially from one nearby shelter, and even gets help from some Fordham University students who volunteer.
People who are working are free to pick up a meal.
While almost 800 meals were served in Ag Hall, more than double that amount was delivered to homes and senior high-rises across Topeka.
"Bring me in with open arms and hug on me and love on me and what not, it's a real heart-warming feeling", Word said.
She served with the committee in previous years of First Presbyterian's Thanksgiving meals before a committee partner moved to Mandan, starting another annual meal there.
"I remember having a conversation with an older woman a few years ago and she broke down in tears and she said she didn't know where she would go if this wasn't here", Beilke said.
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