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Mr. Thanksgiving needs your help to keep annual community dinner alive

Bob Vogelbaugh, or Mr. Thanksgiving to locals, is asking for donations to help make the 51st Quad Cities community dinner possible.

MOLINE, Ill. — Bob Vogelbaugh, better known to the Quad Cities as 'Mr. Thanksgiving,' is seeking donations for this year's Community Thanksgiving Dinner.

Mr. Thanksgiving, who turned 80 this year, has been putting on the community event for a half-century. The turkey dinner for those in need is made possible through community donations and feeds thousands each year at SouthPark Mall in Moline.

Last year's dinner looked a little different due to the pandemic. Meals were served up curbside, and Mr. Thanksgiving caught a glimpse of some new faces in the drive-thru line when holiday gatherings were canceled.

RELATED: Mr. Thanksgiving serves up thousands of meals drive-thru style

This year's dinner will be from 4-6 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 25 and follow the same drive-thru format. 

During the announcement Thursday, Nov. 4, Mr. Thanksgiving said he was dedicating the 2021 event to two women who have helped make the decades-long event possible: Connie McElyea of SouthPark Mall and retired Moline school teacher Vicki Birdsell Baker. 

"They need more attention than I get because they are the backbone of this dinner, and they have been for years," he said.

The cost of the event, catered by Hy-Vee, is expected to be $26,000-30,000. As of Thursday morning, about $1,800 had already been raised.

Since the dinner is drive-thru only, no volunteers are needed, and no outside food donations, like pies, will be accepted.

For those interested in attending, vehicles are asked to line up at the SouthPark mall's east side entrance near the Von Maur truck dock area.

View the map of the drive-thru route here.

If you need a ride to the mall to pick up a dinner, contact MetroLink at 788-3360 by noon Monday, Nov. 22.

Want to support this year's Thanksgiving feast?

Checks can be made out to Mr. Thanksgiving himself and mailed to 3704 26th St., Moline, IL 61265.

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