More than a hundred immigrants and refugees gathered for a Thanksgiving potluck in Louisville Wednesday.

The 4th annual Thanksgiving Welcoming Celebration was hosted by Catholic Charities of Louisville to welcome new immigrants and refugees to the city. One of those immigrants, Martellus Jaston, said he used to watched people celebrate Thanksgiving on television when he was in Haiti. Now a Louisville resident, Jaston said he’s excited to celebrate the tradition for the first time.

“A friend advised me to come here because there are not a lot of Haitian [people] from Kentucky,” he said. “I’m thankful for my wife, for my love, for being always in health and for Catholic Charities helping me. And for the hope America gave me.”

Jaston Martellus (right) and his wife (left) waiting for food in the Thanksgiving Celebration dinnerKyeland Jackson |

Martellus Jaston (right) and his wife (left) waiting for food at the Thanksgiving celebration dinner.

After the meal, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said immigrants and refugees teach people about other cultures, and help drive the economy.

“There’s differences people have in skin color, religions, whatever it might be. But in the end, we’re all connected as one human race,” Fischer said. “We need to embrace each other, we need to lift each other up, and when we see acts of cruelty or division or hate, we need to call that out.”

After prayers by Muslim, Hindu and Catholic church leaders, volunteers served turkey, pumpkin pie, green beans and more to those in attendance.

A tree made of construction paper hugged the wall nearby. On it, there were paper leaves with written messages about being thankful. Kids in brightly-colored winter jackets used markers to trace their hands onto construction paper.

More than a hundred gather for the Catholic Charities' Thanksgiving Welcoming CelebrationKyeland Jackson |

More than a hundred gather for the Catholic Charities’ Thanksgiving Welcoming Celebration.

Across the room, Jaston and his wife waited in line for food. Jaston said he is excited to eat his first Thanksgiving turkey, and that he hopes to stay in Louisville for a long time.