Tanner family prepares Thanksgiving dinner for more than a thousand strangers

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ATHENS, Ala. (WHNT) - For any number of reasons, not everyone is going to be able to sit down with family and friends to enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. And that bothers a Limestone County family. Several years ago, they decided they would prepare a Thanksgiving feast for anyone who wanted it. Needless to say, the effort has steadily grown and this year they expect to feed over 1,000 people.

There are all sorts of Thanksgiving family traditions. But this family has developed a tradition of feeding others. Total strangers, hundreds of them. Why?

Tanner housewife Roxanne Haggermaker leads the effort from her modest kitchen. "Just knowing that everybody's going to have a place to go, and if they don't have a meal they're going to have a meal. There's a lot of seniors out there that don't have family and it's too much trouble to cook for one or two. So they'll go out and buy a TV dinner with a piece of fake turkey in it. But not with us, they're not getting anything fake with us. It's all home cooked and good stuff," she says.

No, there's nothing fake about what they're doing. They fed about 1,000 people last year. This year, they've partnered with a local church and the VFW, so they expect to feed even more. Many of those meals will be delivered to those who can't get out. Most of the food was donated. A local restaurant is smoking the turkeys for them this year. As for the rest, Roxanne buys it out of the family budget. She adds this wasn't even her idea. A friend mentioned it.

"She said I wish we could do a community Thanksgiving dinner. She she put the idea in and we just took it and run with it. So this is four years strong," Roxanne says.

Just one family's tradition, Thanksgiving dinner for anyone who wants it. Dinner is served beginning at 11 a.m. at the VFW hall on North Jefferson Street in Athens. And all you need to bring is your appetite.