ALTON - River Of Life Church once again created a Thanksgiving dinner for many who would not been able to celebrate the holiday on Tuesday night.

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An estimated 1,200-plus people feasted on delicious turkey and the trimmings thanks to the church, volunteers and financial donors to the occasion.

Sheldon Rushing was coordinator of the event this year. This is the 15th year of the Thanksgiving dinner being offered by the church.

“I am extremely proud of the volunteers who put this on at its growth,” he said. “It takes 250 volunteers to put this on. It is the neatest thing.”

Marilyn Pruitt and her husband, Fred, were two of the founders of the Thanksgiving dinner at the church and both said it has added great meaning to their life and those who have attended. They both said there have become regulars who attend year after year.

“We have served thousands of people over the years,” Marilyn Pruitt said. “It has been a good 15-year run. We have more people come up to us and say every year they don’t feel love like they feel when they are here at the church for the dinner. Many have also told us they wouldn’t have Thanksgiving dinner without this.”

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Traci Rushing has also been with the dinner from the beginning and said for her and her husband, it has been very special. She said the stories people have told about the night and what it has meant to them has always made it worthwhile.

This year, one man just wanted to be around people and asked to be put in the room where the music was being performed.

“I got him another piece of pie and took him to listen to the music,” she said. “You meet a lot of amazing people here year after year.”

Sheldon Rushing said being a Christian means truly serving those in need.

“We are starting to see other types of dinners like this spawn off,” he said. “This has been the catalyst. The true meaning of Thanksgiving and Christmas is serving and helping those in need.”

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