SUTHERLAND SPRINGS, Texas – Just one day after the Sutherland Springs community laid friends and family who were killed in a tragic mass shooting to rest, the community gathered for a "Feast of Sharing."
Several congregated at the Sutherland Springs Community Building for a free meal on Sunday.
Terrie Smith, owner of Theresa's Kitchen, said she began planning the feast well before the shooting.
Initially organized as an event for people to get to know others in their community better, the Feast of Sharing soon became an opportunity to help the community heal.
Smith said the thought of cancelling the meal in light of the shooting never crossed her mind.
"I felt that all of us here are family and that we should share a meal together -- as a family," Smith said.
Tambria Read has lived in Sutherland Springs for the past 31 years. She said the event has been "healing" for the small, tight-knit community.
"I knew many of those people," Read said. "There was honestly only two that I did not know. People tell me that I knew them, I just didn't know their names. Several were students. We just buried one of my former students yesterday. The former secretary of the church was a good friend of mine and we buried her yesterday as well. A fellow I knew who worked at HEB, yesterday was his funeral as well -- Mr. Bearden -- it's been hard."
A Christmas tree outside of the community building was adorned with 26 angels -- each representing the 26 church members who died in the Nov. 5 massacre at the First Baptist Church.