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People turn out to gobble up a Thanksgiving style meal in Diamond on Sunday

Volunteers serve plates of  food to attendees at the 2015 free turkey meal
Volunteers serve plates of food to attendees at the 2015 free turkey meal

COAL CITY — What does it take to feed a Thanksgiving style meal to over 1,800 people? One thousand eight hundred forty pounds of turkey, 450 pounds of mashed potatoes — not to mention the gravy, stuffing and pies that go along side the free meal.

The reason these numbers are known is because a large group of volunteers get together each year and for the week prior to Thanksgiving they work at making the meal, which is then served on the Sunday prior to Thanksgiving.

This is the fifth year the meal has been served and it has grown over the years, with the first year serving 500 people, and this year preparing for 1,800.

Last November volunteers served a total of 1,495 dinners, including dine-in and carry outs. An additional 543 meals were delivered to shut-ins, senior citizens, the disabled and first responders.

The organizer and main contributor, who prefers to remain anonymous, said originally he just wanted no elderly person to sit home and celebrate alone. He got his wish and then some.

The dinner is open to all and many share tables with people who were strangers when they entered and friends when they left, the spirit the originator hoped for.

The dinner is open to anyone for free but donations are also welcomed.

What: Diamond Turkey Dinner

Where: Diamond Banquet Hall, 55 S Daly St, Diamond, IL 60416

When: Sunday from 1 p.m. until 4 p.m.

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