PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — As part of South Side Mission’s 50th anniversary, Peoria area volunteers quickly prepared food for Thursday’s Thanksgiving meal distribution.

Preparations range from 700 pounds of sides, like mashed potatoes and green beans, to almost 1,000 pounds of turkey.

To round out the holiday meal, there are 500 pies and more for dessert. The Mission’s Executive Director, Craig Williams, said it would not be possible without volunteers.

Many come back year after year, showing a dedication to the community.

“It’s a privilege to be able to serve our community. Especially in times like these. South Side Mission has been a mainstay for over 97 years, and we’re just grateful, and we’re glad to be able to partner with so many others to help us to also make sure that we can feed this amount of people,” Williams said.

South Side Mission staff said at the first Thanksgiving meal giveaway, they served 147 meals. Now, 50 years later, they are preparing more than 2,200 meals.

“The volunteers are South Side Mission. We have the name, but they are the brand. They are the ones that help us to do it. We can’t do it without them. You take away the volunteers, you don’t have South Side Mission,” Williams said.