Next to the stuffing and turkey loaded onto Shannon Ockerman's plate, there's also a huge helping of responsibility. Ockerman is the bread winner of her family, providing not just for her husband and son, but her mother-in-law too. And due to the family's single income, even overtime hours couldn't pay for a Thanksgiving meal.
"I didn't have the money to get our own turkey dinner so we thought we'd come down here and have dinner as a family and enjoy other peoples' company," says Ockerman.
Ockerman is one of 15-hundred mouths being fed at Rockford's Court Street Methodist Church. This is the 24th time church leaders whipped up the festive feast. Volunteers say it's a blessing to be able to give the community something warm to eat.
"It will give them the sense that there's a community that cares for them at least for one day of the year and that's very important," says volunteer Reverend Ray Rhoades.
Rockford's "giving" community is one thing Ockerman says she's very thankful for. And hopes next year will be a better year.
"I definitely want to have my own Thanksgiving dinner next year and be able to sit down at the table with my own family and provide them with dinner," she says.
Dinner filled with all the holiday favorites, and a plateful of good news.