David Wilcox moved to Denver from Des Moines, Iowa, on Monday. On Wednesday, he turned his back for a second while trying to sell his 1995 Mercury Villager van so he could buy a mountain bike.

When he turned around again, the van was gone, Wilcox said while waiting in line for Thanksgiving lunch at Boulder's First Presbyterian Church today.

"Even through adversity we still know who our creator is," Wilcox said. "We're grateful."

Wilcox and around 50 others waited outside the church for the doors to open. Once inside, they found 500 pounds of turkey, 80 pounds of stuffing and dozens of pies waiting for them.

Volunteers fluttered around stocking the 20 circular tables with fresh-baked rolls, relish and chocolate candies. Bright, handmade place mats decorated by children of the church marked each seat in the banquet hall.

Deacon Rob Dean said he expected to serve about 300 people between 1 and 3 p.m.

Tonya Nicol, 49, and her 42-year-old friend who referred to himself as "D.M.H." came for the turkey and mashed potatoes, their favorite part of the Thanksgiving meal.

Nicol, who is homeless, and D.M.H. said they planned to take a bus ride after lunch, but had no other plans for the day.

Volunteer Bob Shafer arrived around 9 a.m. to chop onions and celery, and help keep the turkeys juicy.

Shafer said he was spending the holiday alone, so he enjoyed his day in the kitchen, meeting new people and chatting with other volunteers.

Garrett Smith, who was visiting his grandparents in Boulder from Grand Junction, helped serve beverages to each table.

The 9-year-old said the best part of the day was "helping the community." His grandfather, Alan Quiller, added that being together as a family volunteering was a "good feeling."

The lunch's head chef, 58-year-old Vernon Ward, bustled around in a white apron and black baseball cap, taking phone calls, organizing vats of gravy and saying "God bless you" to everyone in his path.

He took a short break from the kitchen to pull out his phone and read his daily prayer, which comes in a text message each day.

The Thanksgiving prayer was a passage from 1 Corinthians, which reaffirmed Ward's commitment to volunteering.

"Honor God with your bodies," the text read, and Ward walked back to the church kitchen to get to work.

Follow Sarah Kuta on Twitter: @SarahKuta