What started as a prank in 2017 has turned into a way that families who might not have been able to have a thanksgiving meal, now can. Operation Give Birds held their annual distribution day Sunday were they provided families in need with a meal for the holiday.
"It's important this time of year to have families get together with their friends or families or whatever and and take some time to get together and be thankful for what they have," said President of Iowa Giving Crew, Nick Dusil.
Thanks to the Iowa Giving Crew, more than 800 families will be able to gather over a meal Thursday for Thanksgiving. Vice president of the Iowa Giving Crew, Austin Hermsen, said the need is higher this year given the challenges that 2020 has brought the community.
"Especially in the Cedar Rapids area, not only is everyone dealing with COVID, but as well at the derecho and the aftermath," said Hermsen.
The first year the annual tradition was held, crews were able to give away 80 meals, then 280 the following year, 545 in 2019, and this year, 800.
Included in the meals were canned vegetables, rolls, potatoes, stuffing, gravy and a turkey. Iowa Giving crew purchases the food through Hy-Vee. The purchases are made possible through donations to the Iowa Giving Crew.
"They help out with all the food. We purchased it from them and then they helped out with all the boxes, they donated the boxes and put those together for us," said Hermsen.
Sign ups this year filled quickly, thankfully volunteers were ready to help out.
"We had thirty volunteers and we needed every single one of them. They helped assemble of these boxes and they're helping hand out all these meals," said Dusil.
Despite the hardships that the last year has handed out, volunteers are thankful to provide a small sense of normalcy to this holiday.
"There's a need for thanksgiving meals obviously and were doing everything we cam to get everyone a thanksgiving meal," said Dusil.