The annual River Of Life Church in Alton Thanksgiving dinner was again meaningful not just with the food, but also in support for many in the region.

Marilyn Pruitt, the church coordinator and founder of the event, said about 1,200 people were served at the meal.

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“We had wonderful turnout,” she said. “We had fantastic help and community support. People told us they loved it and had nothing but praise about the dinner.”

Area businesses and individuals make donations each year in order for the dinner to be held.

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“We share unconditional love with the people there,” she said. “We passed out a lot of Bibles and I also think that is important.”

The River Of Life Church started the Thanksgiving dinner right after Sept. 11, 2001 tragedy and it has continued ever since.

Pruitt has often said she wishes she could do the dinner all the time, but the funds just aren’t there to support that. Yet, it remains her dream.

“This is always the high note of the year for me,” she said. “We had about 300 volunteers. We were able to offer everyone a dinner, prayer and support. This wouldn’t be possible without the volunteers.”

Volunteers always say they get more out of it than the people helped, Pruitt said.

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