ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — For nearly 60 years, the Rockford Rescue Mission has served meals to the city’s homeless community on the day before Thanksgiving.

Volunteers served up turkey, mashed potatoes, pie, and other seasonal standards for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic, allowing diners to sit inside and have a seat.

Mission leader Abbey Finley said they’ve seen more and more people turning to them for help in recent years.

“We’ve seen a steady increase over the last couple of months and now we’re at the holidays, and that’s a very hard spot to be in during the Holidays,” she said. “So we’re excited to welcome the community in, have our guests and residents in for a meal and just let them know that they’re not alone. We’re here for them.”