34th Annual Mike and Leona Adams dinner draws hundreds - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

34th Annual Mike and Leona Adams dinner draws hundreds

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -

It's that time of year again.

Ton's of volunteers came together to feed hundreds of people a Thanksgiving meal at the local UAW 838 Monday.

The dinner, started by Mike and Leona Adams, is a long-standing tradition.

Monday marked their 34th annual meal.

"Dad was like, he liked to help," said Sandy Adams, daughter to Mike and Leona Adams. "It always made him feel good, whenever we'd go home he'd talk for a few days after it."

Three decades ago, Mike Adams found a void that needed to be filled.

"They started it because of the Deere layoffs, then there were a lot of those, so they decided to open it up [to other people]," said Adams.

"It was started 33 years ago for people who were laid off from Deere, and I was one of the ones who was laid off at that time," said Dan McGowan, now the chairman of the UAW retirees.

Now, McGowan and dozens of other volunteers spend hours every year preparing for the massive meal.

Volunteers are happy to do it, and families are happy to be on the receiving end.

"We're raising three kids on our own, we're young," said Cody Cole, an attendee. "We're one of the less fortunate families and we don't have a lot of money."

"If we didn't have it, a lot of guys would go without a Thanksgiving meal," said McGowan.

"It's a hot fresh meal and we're really thankful that they have it for the community," said Cole.

Also provided at the event was free haircuts and free blood pressure checks.

A similar meal will be held Thanksgiving day from 11:30 to 1 pm at the Salvation Army in Waterloo, at 89 Franklin Street.

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