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Mr. Thanksgiving hosts “49th and a half” community dinner as a drive-up

Published: Sep. 16, 2020 at 8:19 PM CDT
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MOLINE, Illinois (KWQC) - Bob Vogelbaugh, known in the Quad Cities as “Mr. Thanksgiving”, will still host his annual dinner this year as a drive-up.

The usual location of Vogelbaugh’s free community meal is the South Park Mall in Moline, where thousands gather to eat, talk, listen to music, and help serve the yearly feast. In a press conference Wednesday, September 16th, Vogelbaugh announced that this year’s meal will be served “drive-up” style. On Thanksgiving Day, guests will be able to drive to the South Park Mall parking lot and receive free, pre-packaged dinners in their cars. The logistical shift from a sit-down meal to a carry-out one is a considerable amount of work, but for Mr. Thanksgiving, it’s worth it.

“I don’t care what your walks of life are, or what your financial status is,” said Vogelbaugh at Wednesday’s press conference. “If you can bring some good to people for a few short hours, I feel that it’s well worth the headache you go through ahead of time.”

The dinner started 50 years ago when Vogelbaugh ran a Mom n' Pop grocery store in downtown Moline. After learning that some of his older customers were going to spend Thanksgiving alone, Vogelbaugh figured he could use his extra space and walk-in freezer to host a Thanksgiving dinner himself. Though the size and venue have changed, the goal of bringing friendship and fellowship to whoever needs it on a holiday has stayed the same.

No outside volunteers will be used this year, to stay in line with safety protocols, though Hy-Vee employees will be helping with the food preparation. Vogelbaugh says any leftovers will be donated to a few churches in Moline.

Metro Link buses will also be running to South Park Mall Thanksgiving Day for those that can’t drive.

If you wish to donate to the annual meal, you can send a check payable to “Mr. Thanksgiving” to 3704 26th Street in Moline.

Copyright 2020 KWQC. All rights reserved.

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