Thanksgiving Dinners Served Up Free of Charge Across the River Valley

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Churches, nonprofits, and businesses across the River Valley are opened their doors Thursday and invited those in need in for a community Thanksgiving dinner.

Sisters Gourmet Bistro in Van Buren and the Salvation Army in Fort Smith were just two places handing out free meals this holiday.

Richard Hodo, who owns Sisters along with his wife Helen, said he felt blessed that he was able to give back to the community.

"Living in Van Buren, we see a lot of the families," Hodo said. "We know a lot of the families are around and we hear of them. The need is there. There's a lot of them that just can't afford to have it."

Instead of staying home this Thanksgiving, volunteers headed out to dish up plates and give back to the community. 

Joanne Watson and her husband sat down to enjoy Sisters' Thanksgiving Dinner Thursday afternoon.

"They have a lot of volunteers out here that are giving up their own day off just to come out here to help," Watson said. "We appreciate every one of them."

Capt. Carlyle Gargis with the Salvation Army in Fort Smith said he can't imagine spending his Thanksgiving doing anything but giving back.

"I am thankful that we have a chance to share with our community," Gargis said. "I am so grateful to God and the benefits he gives us."

The Salvation Army also shared winter coats with those in need Thursday.

"We've been doing a coat drive since the Nov. 1 and we're actually giving away those coats today," Gargis said Thursday.

Giving back to the community is what Gargis said Thanksgiving is really all about.