WAUSAU (WAOW) -- On Thursday, families gather around their kitchen tables to enjoy Thanksgiving dinner. But on Wednesday, a community comes together to share a meal of its own.
Cooks served turkey and all the fixings at a pre-Thanksgiving day lunch and topped it off with a side of hope.
"There's no discrimination whether you're rich or poor, there's just a loving community," said Rudolph Poznecki.
Volunteers served Thanksgiving dinner a day early, with steaming pans full of hot food -- a saving grace for people who had been freezing in the cold.
The Salvation Army provides this service on a daily basis, but Wednesday's meal was special.
"We are blessed not only this day but every day because they do provide meals for the community," said Poznecki.
Even if they don't have much, the warm meal left many feeling full of gratitude for the blessings they do have.
"Giving me clothes, stuff to keep me warm during this rough time," said Kendron Bolden. "It's rough but it is for everybody."
Times are tough, but people at the Salvation Army said they're glad to provide a safe refuge, where people can turn when they don't have anywhere else to go.
"People shouldn't be alone during the holidays, that's the way that I feel, and so for that reason we can do that for them and they can have a good meal and have a good time doing it," said Head Cook Melissa Westberg.
With grateful hearts and full stomachs, people find within themselves a new sense of hope.
"I just moved here from Milwaukee, Wisconsin to pursue my happiness and possibly go to college and go forward in life and not look back," said Bolden.
And even though Thanksgiving celebrations usually revolve around a traditional family, the people at the dinner felt a new sense of support.
"Thanksgiving is about family but we're all God's family and this is our family," said Poznecki. "Rich, poor, ragged, it doesn't matter."