JOHNSTON CITY, IL (KFVS) - Organizers of a community Thanksgiving dinner in Johnston City are cooking with heavy hearts.
That's because now two years in a row they've lost people important to their cause.
But volunteers are committed to feeding Johnston City in their memory.
The table is set, but two seats will be empty at this thanksgiving feast.
On Tuesday, one of the event's key organizers, Fran Brown, passed away.
"She was supposed to be here with me baking a turkey today," said Volunteer Nick Roberts. "That was our tradition. We'd come in Wednesday and we'd bake the last turkey at the church."
Instead, Nick Roberts is alone in the kitchen with only memories of cooking with Fran and his friend, Robert Poff to keep him company.
"We spent a lot of good times together," said Roberts. "Most of them in this kitchen, or the high school kitchen, or another kitchen preparing for Thanksgiving dinner."
Poff, the organizer of Johnston City's first ever Thanksgiving event, passed away last year.
In 2008, he told why he worked so hard to bring people together for a meal.
"I don't want people to spend Thanksgiving alone," said Robert Poff in 2008. "I want people to have a family for Thanksgiving."
The event is now called the Robert Poff Memorial Thanksgiving Dinner and there's talk of adding Fran Brown's name to the title next year.
On Thursday, when 200 or so people line up for a hot meal and fellowship, Nick says they'll be partaking in the legacy of two people who lived to serve.
"It hurts in our hearts that they're gone," said Roberts. "But we can pick up a spatula or a ladel and serve someone in their memory and that's what they would have wanted."