FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WTVD) -- A Fayetteville church and local business delivered more than 500 box lunches to Fort Bragg soldiers on Thursday.
Manna Church and Two Brothers Catering provided the meals to soldiers, many of who would be unable to make it home for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday.
"It means a lot like you guys know everything we did this year and it's kind of loving to get appreciated a little bit. It just makes me happy," said Corp. Michael Brian Kwentua, one of the soldiers who received a free lunch.
The drive-thru event brought a line of cars to the site. The line led to all the meals being handed out in an hour. Manna Church put on a similar event last year but doubled the meals provided this year.
"Being able to serve those who serve means a lot to us, especially since a lot of our staff are former military," said Jordan Gill, a pastoral resident at Manna Church.
Gill himself previously served in the military and knows firsthand how much a simple gesture like free lunch can mean for soldiers.
"Now more than ever with what our country has been going through the last couple years, they want that sense of community. So to be able to be there for them to be able to provide that for them when they're not able to get it at home means a lot to us and I hope it means a lot to them," Gill said.
Soldiers said Thursday's meal meant a little more to them after their experience this past year.
"This year was, I don't know, was overwhelming, chaotic," Kwentua said. "My friends and family did help me get back up on my feet and free food too."
Manna Church hopes to double the meals offered for its next Thanksgiving event.
"Really happy that we got to do it again this year and Lord willing, we'll do it again next year," said Gill
Fort Bragg also still plans on hosting its annual Thanksgiving tradition next week and Manna Church is also planning on handing out free turkeys.