LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) - More than 3,000 people enjoyed the La Crosse Community Thanksgiving Dinner at the La Crosse Center Thursday.
The meal is a 31-year-old city tradition and it takes hundreds of volunteers to put it together.
For the last 17 years, the Thanksgiving plates filled by Jessica Anding helped feed the La Crosse community.
"It's such a great feeling to give when you have something to go home back to," said Anding, a volunteer helping prepare the community dinner.
In those 17 years, Anding's family has been at her side, helping set-up.
"(Our involvement) first started as a need to do some community service. We've just continued it ever since," Anding said.
Part of feeding the community includes packing up the meals and delivering them to about 600 houses.
"This is for a lot of the people who don't get out of the house or can't get out of the house. And (meals) actually get delivered to them," said Kyle Schild, Anding's brother.
Anding and Schild's mom, Rita, said it's not about presentation but instead, good food, family and tradition.
"It's how we begin our Thanksgiving tradition," Rita Schild said. "It's so heartfelt. We really enjoy coming down here and giving back. It's just a few hours of our time and it means so much to so many people."
The La Crosse Thanksgiving Dinner is open to the entire community and is funded solely by donations.
Organizers said it cost about $25,000 to host the event. So far, they've only raised around $10,000.
If you want to make a contribution to the dinner, mail your donation to P.O. Box 663, La Crosse, WI 54601.
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