Stepping Up

How TKU Student Gabby Calzada Brought Thanksgiving Dinner to 500 Families.

Editor’s note: This article is part of an ongoing conversation at The King’s University about gratitude. We want to know, what are you thankful for?

Gabby Calzada and her brother, Dash, are driving in a freezer truck through East Fort Worth. Gabby, a 21-year-old student at The King’s University, is on the phone while her 17-year-old brother dodges potholes in that part of the city’s neglected roads. They are heading to Rosedale Plaza Park, where they intend to give out about 315 frozen turkeys to families who might not otherwise have them. 

“I’m so thankful for this opportunity,” says Gabby, pausing only to give directions to Dash. “We were at Carter Park Elementary School yesterday, and we handed out 200 turkeys.” However, just ten days prior, this is not how they envisioned this week going.

Gabby and Dash’s parents, Buddy and Ruth, have been running a ministry called Fort Worth Metro for more than 28 years. Gabby says she can’t remember a Thanksgiving when she and her brother weren’t helping her parents deliver turkeys to families in need. But this year, she’s in charge.

“Last weekend, my mom wasn’t feeling great, and so she went and got tested for COVID,” says Gabby. “She got a positive result.” Buddy later tested positive, and Gabby and her brother packed up their things to move in with their grandparents nearby while Buddy and Ruth recovered. 

There was talk of rescheduling the program, something they had never done in 28 years of ministry. Gabby and Dash knew what they had to do. “There are families that come out each year counting on us,” she says. “The kids are getting fed at school, but when they go on Thanksgiving break, they don’t have a source of food. People have told us year after year that the turkeys we’re providing are feeding their families for an entire week.”

So last weekend, the pair began collecting turkey donations in the Fort Worth Metro freezer truck. They’ve gotten daily COVID tests with a negative result each time. Gabby says that God provided in a big way this year. “On Thursday, someone donated 250 turkeys!” she says. Now, because of their work, more than 500 families will have food for Thanksgiving. 

Gabby, who is a student in the Bachelor of Worship Leadership program at TKU, hopes to work in worship ministry one day. While she says she loves her parents’ work with Fort Worth Metro, it isn’t exactly what she sees herself doing. But she says she’s learned a big lesson. Never say never.

“I’ve always said I’m never going to take over [Fort Worth] Metro,” she says. “Then just a few days ago, God was like, Do you remember that time you said you were never going to take it over? I thought, Aw man, you got me! But I’m really so thankful for this opportunity.”

Daniel Hopkins
Daniel Hopkins
Daniel Hopkins is the associate director of marketing and communications at The King's University.