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Rock Island’s MLK Center donates thousands of meals for Thanksgiving

The Center’s goal was to donate 3,000 meals this year
Published: Nov. 21, 2020 at 10:45 PM CST
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ROCK ISLAND, Ill. (KWQC) - MLK Center Director Jerry Jones covered all his bases with this year’s Thanksgiving dinners.Thanksgiving

“We got turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, green beans, and corn...” he said. “...and pumpkin pie for everyone.”

While that meal is something anyone would want, for others, it comes as an absolute need.

“When you see this need out here that people are willing to wait an hour for a plate of food, it brings it home that where we’re at and what we need to do,” Jones said.

According to Jones, this is the 31st year the Rock Island Martin Luther King Jr. Center is holding their annual Thanksgiving dinner this year. The Center would normally host a dinner with the community, but this year has changed to a curbside pickup and delivery model due to COVID-19.

This year, the center is donating 3,000 meals.

“We never thought we’d hit 3,000, to be honest with you, but we had orders of 2,600 which was really important for us to know...” Jones said. “...Because the surge hit, we had stronger restrictions and there were stronger restrictions, we had to strongly consider ‘are we doing the right and safe thing’, considering the need in our community, we needed to do this.”

For Board of Directors member Aimee Bland, it means a lot to be apart of this year’s dinner.

“I grew up a couple blocks that way so I grew up taking advantage of the Martin Luther King Center,” she said. “I participated in, as a child, some of the Thanksgiving events and have been volunteering for a couple of years now so I think it’s very important to give back to the community that gave so much to me.”

Jones said this year’s dinner would not be possible without the over 100 volunteers that helped.

“We have a gamut of the type of volunteers, but more importantly, a strong willingness to be a volunteer for what it takes,” he said.

The MLK Center is doing one more day of meal giveaways on Sunday, November 22, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. for curbside pick up at their Center in Rock Island.

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