RIVERDALE PARK, MD - NOVEMBER 28: Volunteers served a charitable Thanksgiving meal Thursday at the Alamo Restaurant in Riverdale Park, MD on November 28, 2013. (Hamil R. Harris/TWP)

More than 500 people filled the parking lot and dining room of the Alamo Restaurant in Riverdale Park on Thursday for a charitable Thanksgiving meal that brought together people from many cultures.

“This is a wonderful opportunity to serve people who are less fortunate and to let them know that we care about them,” said the Rev. Ben Slye, pastor of the Christian Life Center in Riverdale Park.

The event was one of several around the region where meals were served to those in need.

Slye, whose church has one of the area’s largest food distribution ministries, held the event with the Rev. Hugo Areiga, who ministers to the large Latino community in the area.

“This is a wonderful opportunity that God has given us, for people of all nationalities, to make a difference,” Areiga said. “We are Spanish, African American, people from everywhere who are blessed to give back to people in need.”


Latino ministry in Riverdale, Md.

In addition to serving turkey, stuffing and all the trimmings inside the restaurant, event organizers also passed out winter coats, gloves and clothes.

While Slye normally feeds more than 1,000, he said numbers were down this year because many groups were pitching in. “The United Methodist Church, the Carolina Kitchen and the police in Lewisdale are all feeding people,” Slye said.

In addition to Thanksgiving, Slye said his church gives out fresh produce twice a month on the first and third Monday. “We minister to literally thousands.”