By Cherri Gregg

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A Center City ministry that serves meals to the homeless had a surprise celebrity guest for a special Thanksgiving Day meal.

READ MORE: Preparations Underway For The Salute To America Independence Day Parade In Philadelphia

“We never open on Thanksgiving– we’ve been closed for the last 17 years,” says Reverend Brian Jenkins of Chosen300 Ministries. He says so many churches, restaurants and other community groups serve on Thanksgiving that he usually conserves his resources.

But Thursday was special — he opened his doors so that King of Comedy Cedric the Entertainer could take the stage.

“It was an opportunity for them to see somebody that they could not see,” says Jenkins.

More than 100 people sat at tables at the Chosen300 Ministries location at 11th and Spring Garden for the brief show.

“Reverend Jenkins used to be known as the “chicken man,” Cedric the Entertainer joked, during a short stand up routine, “it would be Thanksgiving and he’d be serving chicken.”

After a few words of encouragement, Cedric shook hands, took photos and signed autographs while serving heaping plates of turkey, stuffing, mac and cheese, green beans and more.

“It’s a blessing to be able to here,” he says, “I was here in the city for the parade, but I thought it would be great to be able to get out meet the people, serve some meals, show my family what it’s like.”

READ MORE: Suspect Arrested Following Fatal Stabbing In Wissahickon: Philadelphia Police

Cedric says he’s thankful for his health and the health of his family, after going through a difficult time.

“My mother’s been dealing with some cancer,” he told KYW Newsradio, “but she’s still here, so I am so thankful.”

Those who were able to get the free meal and to meet the King of Comedy thought he was the whip cream on the sweet potato pie.

“I just liked him being a real person,” says Vernon, who attended the meal, “he wasn’t bourgie. He was a really nice guy.”

“This was so nice,” says Julia, “a true blessing…and I’ve always been a fan of Cedric the Entertainer from when he used to do Kings of Comedy with Steve Harvey.”

Cedric the Entertainer is set to perform near Philadelphia at the Keswick Theater on December 5th.

Follow Cherri Gregg on Twitter and LIKE her on Facebook 

MORE NEWS: Chick-Fil-A Earns Top Spot For Customer Satisfaction In America For Eighth Straight Year: Report