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CARUTHERSVILLE, MO (KFVS) -
At the Thanksgiving meal at the Temple Baptist Church in Caruthersville, visitors can have all the food they want.
But as Pemiscot County is one of the poorest counties in the state, that's not always the case.
"There's a lot of people that needs help, their kids ain't hardly got anything to eat around here," Geraldine Riggs.
"This is a community that we've been hit hard with the drought, we've been hit hard with the tornado in the past, and I think this is bringing people together, sharing, and having a thanksgiving to give something to be thankful for," said Normal Cantrell.
"We don't have a whole lot of jobs here, so economically, they need things like this in our community," said Heather Pilcher.
Jim Pilcher said four churches and a funeral home came together to organize Thursday's meal. He said they're working to change the community's point of view, so the community can change itself.
"Poverty is a mindset I really do believe, that if we can change our mindset, we can change our outlook, therefore we want people to see there are positive things, there are good things that go on in this community," said Pilcher.
Pilcher said Thanksgiving can be the perfect time to think of the positives they can be thankful for.
"There are great positive things here, we have a great education system, a great superintendent, we've got great people that are here in our community that are doing great things," said Pilcher.
While some said they needed the meal, others said they just wanted the company.
"Wasn't nobody here, but me at my house," said Riggs.
Riggs recently lost her son. Thursday she said she was thankful for the people who help her get through the holiday without him.
"It means a lot to me," said Riggs.
"There's no need to cook for just one person, so we just hope we can help them out," said Heather Pilcher.
"These people are so appreciative, and they need this today," said Cantrell.
"Looking into the holiday season, people lost loved ones, they're hard times, they sit around the house and don't have anything to eat, or maybe they don't have family around, this is a day they can be energized and think hey there is hope," said Jim Pilcher.
"Everyone is really friendly and getting along really nice and the food is just wonderful," said Jerrelene Burwell. "It's good for people who do not have others to be with for today, and the people that cannot afford a meal for today."
For some, Thursday's meal was a friendly face, to others a hot place, but for Pilcher, he's hoping it's a new start for Caruthersville.
The group estimated to feed about 300 people Thursday. They also took almost 100 meals to people in the community like police, firefighters, and those that couldn't leave their home.