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Volunteers Spending Long Hours Getting Home-Cooked Meals Ready For McKeesport Families

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- It's not quite time for Thanksgiving dinner yet, but it sure smells like it inside of Beulah Park United Methodist Church.

It's a feast fit for a king! Or, for 400 people in need of a home-cooked meal on Thanksgiving Day.

"We're here to serve. That's what church is all about. It's serving other people, and everyone's welcome," said Karen Paunovich.

(Photo Credit: Julie Grant/KDKA)

Church volunteers have been carrying on this holiday tradition of service for several years, spending three whole days just preparing all the food.

"We're here from 9 in the morning until 7 or 8 at night, and back here the next morning. Thanksgiving Day, we'll have a crew here at 6 a.m., so until we're done," said Paunovich.

Many of the meals are being packed up to be delivered to people's homes, some by McKeesport Area teachers to students whose families are in need.

"We're very, very fortunate that we have a lot of really caring people in the community that are willing to sacrifice, and at this point in time, this is another great example of all the people coming together to support our kids and our families," said Dr. Mark Holtzman, superintendent of McKeesport Area School District.

Nearly all of the food and supplies are donated by people in the community.

"We need these resources in our community and we need the hard work and commitment that the volunteers here have made to our kids and to our families. I couldn't be more grateful," said Dr. Holtzman.

If you ask the church volunteers, they will tell you they are grateful for the opportunity to give.

"I love to give, and everyone that's here is the same, or they wouldn't be here," said Paunovich.

On Thanksgiving Day, the tables will be set and the church basement becomes a dining hall where everyone is welcome.

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