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Organizations across our region feed the community on Thanksgiving

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Thanksgiving meals

(WSIL) -- Thanksgiving for most means time with family and friends, but for many that could mean another day without food. 

Local organizations across our region took the day to serve meals to the community. 

In Carterville, organizers with the Ministerial Alliance made sure their neighbors were well fed. Eight local churches each did their part in contributing to a larger Thanksgiving meal.

Volunteers say they had 500 orders before Thursday's event even started.

"This. Helping your fellow man? The first year we did this, I didn't know how in the world we were going to do this. And every year since then, we met every 2 weeks the first year, and now we meet maybe 4 times between October 1st and Thanksgiving day," said volunteer Jim Stocks. 

The Carterville Ministerial Alliance has done a community Thanksgiving meal for 14 years now.

And over in Du Quoin, volunteers say handing out a meal is only part of the importance in Thanksgiving.

'Victory Church' -- and Perry County's 'Transition to Hope' -- partnered together for a second straight year. Hundreds of meals were handed out at the Maxton-Rosado Funeral Home.

Organizers say not everyone has what they need to have a happy Thanksgiving and it's more about giving them the hope they need. 

"Its important that people see that there's help, there's hope and that there's someone out there who genuinely cares about them and to me its more about extending that hand of friendship and hope than it is about a meal," aid Victory Church Pastor Brice Voyles.

The City of Herrin hosted its 32nd Thanksgiving dinner at the Civic Center. The annual meal was started by Mayor Ed Quaglia and was continued by Attorney Bart Mann and now serves as a memorial to both. 

There was no indoor dining Thursday, because of COVID-19 safety standards, instead meals were delivered to vehicles or to residents' homes.

Mayor Steve Frattini says this event and Thanksgiving mean a lot to the community. 

"Thanksgiving is an opportunity to reflect on all the things we should be grateful for. Our health, our family, our community and our nation. And also thanking those who are doing their jobs protecting our nation and our first responders, so we're thankful for those as well."

Frattini says the city handed out 1,000 meals. 

And in Carbondale, the Newman Catholic Student Center provided meals for the 53rd year in a row. 

By about noon, they had served over 800 meals by delivery or pick-up. It all started as an opportunity for volunteers to give back to their community and provide food to those in need. 

Organizer and 32-year volunteer, JP Dunn, says he looks forward to this day each year. 

"For me, its to give back to the community. Now I know there's lots of folks that don't have a healthy, satisfying meal and today, of all days, they should have a good meal and should be able to share it with their friends." said Dunn.

The Newman Center plans to continue the tradition next year and they hope to have even more food to give. 

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