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LeClaire couple host community Thanksgiving meal

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What started off as a dinner for service members not able to make it home for Thanksgiving, quickly turned into a big community dinner in LeClaire Wednesday, November 27, 2013.

At Thanksgiving meals, there are often standard food items including turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, pies to name a few; but for many with a spot at a table at the LeClaire Fire Department Wednesday night, there was one, big part of the Thanksgiving meal that will be missing this year.

“Well we aren’t going to spend any time with family this year,” said April Flanigan.

“It’s really hard being away from our family,” said Johanna Mora.

“Thanksgiving is just about giving and it’s about being together with family, so I would be heartbroken if people were at home without anywhere to be,” said Jenna Graff.

Graff hosted the LeClaire Community Thanksgiving Meal Wednesday. She and her husband moved to LeClaire this year.

“We weren’t going to make the travel to Pennsylvania where our home town is so we just decided to invite more people that have family far away or don’t have time to travel away,” said Graff.

It started first with service members who could not go home for the holiday, people like  Victor Tellez who is in the Army and his girlfriend Johanna Mora who are hundreds of miles away from family in Texas.

“This makes it a little better a lot better actually,” said Tellez.

“Just having something like this to come to is just so nice,” said Mora.

It quickly spread to other people who couldn’t be with family for the holiday,

“So this is our new family,” said Flanigan.

And eventually, the dinner was an open invitation for anyone in LeClaire.

“For them to put something like this for the public that’s outstanding,” said Tom Bloomingdale.

The meal creating a new type of family to be thankful for.

“That’s what it’s about,” said Graff.