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

The holiday meal celebrated its 50th year

MOLINE, Ill. — Like many other events that have come and gone this year Thanksgiving also looks quite different.

But despite the pandemic, one holiday tradition lives on. Mr. Thanksgiving has been serving up a community meal in the Quad Cities for 50 years.

Normally, thousands gather inside the South Park Mall in Moline. This year since that couldn’t happen Mr. Thanksgiving adjusted, instead hosting a drive through meal.

Nancy Mueller coming through the line explaining her plans were cancelled this year.

“it’s just wonderful it just makes my heart happy to see all these people out here.”

Hyvee District Director Tim Cernin positive the night would run smoothly as thousands roll through to get their meals.

“We’re projecting servicing about 2500 plus people today.”

Sheryle Salazer and her husband also without plans to make sure they are staying healthy and safe this holiday.

“Yes we usually get together with grandkids and stuff and this year we decided not to do it this year.”

Many people coming through the line for a taste of that traditional Thanksgiving meal in a time when gathering isn’t as possible.

Bernard McCane and his wife, picking up food for their daughter who is currently sick.

“Our daughter is sick and we have no place to go so we came down to get meals for us and our daughter.”

The parking lot of a mall, doubling as a slice of comfort for those without anywhere to go.

Volunteer coordinator Vicki Birdsell-Baker explaining people come for all sorts of reasons.

“Not just for people in need but for people that just might be alone and just wanting a family experience.”

Hyvee partners with Mr. Thanksgiving to provide the food and volunteers.

Birdsell-Baker says a line was wrapped around the mall for hours before the start time of 4pm.

“You can see there is just a line of car circling the mall and to me I look at that and see that is a statement and the opportunity to be able to provide curbside is wonderful.”

It’s a homecooked meal, served by the thousands.