Families receive free turkey dinners for Thanksgiving in Cairo, Ill.

Hundreds of turkey dinners given away for free in Cairo, Illinois
Published: Nov. 14, 2022 at 3:59 PM CST
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CAIRO, Ill. (KFVS) - Some families in southern Illinois will be able to have a nice Thanksgiving dinner thanks to some help from state and local organizations.

Illinois Comptroller Susana A. Mendoza, along with LiUNA Laborers’ Local 773, Arrowleaf and other volunteers joined together to hand out more than 100 turkey dinners to area residents free of charge.

Mendoza started this event six years ago and has continued ever since. She wants residents to know they have someone that cares about them and wants to help in putting a nice meal on their table this holiday.

“We want them to know they are not alone,” Mendoza said. “I’m working very, very hard to try to restore Cairo to once again what it used to be which was a bustling, beautiful metropolis in Illinois. While that doesn’t happen overnight, and we’re working hard, for example on the port project and bringing that which I think will stir revitalization in this area, in the meantime people still need food at Thanksgiving. While I can’t provide throughout the year, at least at Thanksgiving I want the families in Cairo to know that their comptroller cares about them, I see them, and I want them to get so full with the turkey and all the trimmings.”

Mendoza said it’s important to help out one another and to help bring a smile on the children’s faces this holiday season.

“It’s much more than just food,” Mendoza said. “It’s the promise that things are going to get better and whatever little we have we need to be thankful for. It breaks my heart to think that there is any family that’s going to have a Thanksgiving where they’re not surrounded by family, and if they do have their family, where they don’t have a nice delicious meal. So, it’s a very small thing that we’re doing today but I hope the big thing that comes out of it is just a dignified Thanksgiving meal for families who otherwise might have difficulty putting that on their table.”

People we talked with said they are thankful for the support and help in making this holiday one to remember for their children.

“Food is so ridiculous [expensive], and turkey,” Acea Tillery said. “I didn’t even think I was even going to have Thanksgiving this year. I’m so thankful to God that I’m able to have Thanksgiving for my kids.”

Area residents were also offered doughnuts from Krispy Kreme and some school and household items in addition to the Thanksgiving food.