DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Meals went out to families in need across the Miami Valley Wednesday. One organization planned to give away more than 13,000 Thanksgiving dinners.

Wednesday was the third turkey takeaway for Miami Valley Meals.

The organization started out of the pandemic as a way to address food insecurity in our region. A team of volunteers set aside time to make sure anyone can have a Thanksgiving meal.

“We have turkey dressing, green bean casserole, gravy, of course, the best part, mashed potatoes,” Miami Valley Meals Executive Director Amanda DeLotelle said.

It took five weeks of preparation by Miami Valley Meals chefs and their team of volunteers to prepare 13,500 meals for people to heat up and serve on Thanksgiving Day.

“We make meals with a lot of love, with a lot of care because we believe everybody should have a meal served with dignity,” DeLotelle said. “So we are just happy that we’re able to do that for people.”

This year, Miami Valley meals had two primary locations at UD Arena and Trotwood-Madison High School. They also had two satellite sites run by the Dayton Young Black Professionals, including one at Omega Baptist Church in West Dayton. The Fairborn Phoenix Foundation ran a distribution at the Fairborn Phoenix Theater.

The people at the distribution Wednesday said they’re thankful for the help this holiday.

“To support my family the way it’s supposed to be,” Monique Young from Dayton said. “I got my sister staying with me. I got my cousin to staying with me. So, you know, it’s it’s hard for me, but I’m hanging in there.”

“I think it’s a good thing to do, you know, and I want to see everybody have a happy, you know, Thanksgiving,” Chip Hudson from Dayton said.

On a usual day Miami Valley Meals prepares meals that go to 40 nonprofits in the region, but this time of year, they use the spirit of Thanksgiving to give back to the community no matter their need.

“I want to make sure that everybody has something nice to eat on Thanksgiving,” DeLotelle said.

Any meals leftover will not go to waste, they will be distributed through Miami Valley Meal’s regular operations.