ALTON - For 15 years, the River Of Life Family Church, its members and a host of volunteers have opened their hearts to the less fortunate with a Thanksgiving dinner on the Tuesday before the holiday.

River Of Life will host another dinner on Tuesday at 3401 Fosterburg Road in Alton and it is expected to be well-attended once again. The event takes 200-plus volunteers to put on and over the last two years fed 1,400 people each year. Community donations allow the event to occur.

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“This started after 9-11 happened,” said Marilyn Pruitt, one of the founders of the dinner, who has been with it since the start. “It is getting harder each year to raise the finances, but it is a way to reach out to people and let them know we care about them.”

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For some elderly, this may be their only Thanksgiving dinner, and the same for some who are less fortunate and cannot afford to have turkey and the trimmings.

The public is cordially invited to attend the event, Pruitt said. Dinner will start being served at 3 p.m. and will continue until 8 or 8:30 p.m.

Pastor Mark Church has been at the helm the last 12 years at River Of Life Family Church and he has always been supportive, Pruitt said.

“It’s not just about coming to church but showing love to everyone who comes in,” Pruitt said. “We welcome everybody at the dinner. Everyone is invited.”

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