For the eighth consecutive year, more than 500 volunteers joined together to prepare and serve a sit-down dinner for 900 local residents, who may not have a place to celebrate the holiday.

And for those who were not able to attend the Thanksgiving dinner Thursday afternoon, an additional 900 meals were prepared for delivery.

Ecumenical Christian Outreach coordinator Jessica Zeitler was excited for another great turnout.

“This is our eighth year hosting the dinner in the Atrium and it is great to have such a large venue to open to our guests,” Zeitler said.

“We are very thankful for the Packers’ generosity and hope to keep this tradition going. This year we have 900 guests attending the dinner, one of our highest turnouts. In addition, we will be serving 900 other residents in the area through our meals on wheels delivery service.”

The dinner, held Thursday at 11 a.m. in the Lambeau Field Atrium, makes it possible for residents of the area to share in the holiday spirit together. In addition, those in attendance will have the opportunity to make free long distance phone calls to out-of-town family and friends.

Such a large event requires the hard work from many volunteers and Zeitler is thankful for another great volunteer turnout.

“We have more than 500 volunteers who actively help us with the set up, the food preparation, serving and delivering the food, and the most fun job - - cleaning up,” Zeitler said. “Additionally, our food and money donations received this year were through the roof, and that’s wonderful.

“And while we expect all 900 guests to attend, along with delivering 900 additional meals, any and all leftovers will be delivered to various shelters throughout the area.”

One volunteer, busy at work, was Chris Weid of Green Bay. Weid, who is participating for the 15th-straight year, looks forward to the event each year.

“I have been volunteering for 15 years now and each year is more fun than the last,” Weid said. “Many of us have been participating together for several years, so it is always fun to get the group back together. Having the opportunity to help members of our community is truly rewarding. Everyone here has such a great time and Chef Leo (Dominguez, of Levy Restaurants at Lambeau Field, also a partner in the event) is so much fun to work with.”

Zeitler agrees that the volunteers seem to enjoy the event just as much, if not more than attending guests.

“Everyone here enjoys each other’s company and looks forward to helping out their community. I think the volunteers have the most fun working together.”

Once the Thanksgiving dinner festivities come to an end, Zeitler is confident no guest would leave on an empty stomach or empty-handed, as special bags of treats will be presented, courtesy of the Green Bay Packers.

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