WEST, Texas -- It has been a tradition for years in West, Texas. But the annual Thanksgiving Day dinner at the West Community Center held a little more significance on this Thursday.
More than 400 meals were dished out to local families that came together to reassure each other the town is recovering, even if that recovery takes time.
"It'll be a while before some come back, or maybe they never will," said longtime resident Milada Mazanec.
She and a group of other ladies were glad to see so many people in attendance.
It has been more than seven months since a fertilizer plant explosion killed 15 people and damaged or destroyed 150 of the small town's homes.
"It was a horrible feeling. It felt like your stomach went out," said Barbara Poor, who remembers the April 17 night well.
Organizers of this year's event said it was busier than year's past.
Over 125 pounds of turkey and also ham were served, as were 24 gallons of both greens beans and sweet potatoes.
"Some of those that had their homes destroyed, they actually came back to have supper and lunch here," said Cheryl Mynar, one of the co-chairs of the dinner.
Most of the food wad donated, or purchased with donation money that funneled through local civic groups like Kiwanis, the Knights of Columbus and the chamber of commerce.
Close to 100 meals were also driven to home-bound seniors living in the area.