PITMAN, N.J. (CBS) — In these difficult times, not everyone can afford a meal even on Thanksgiving. A restaurant in Gloucester County stepped up to give the gift of food.

Gloucester County, New Jersey has one of the worst job creation figures in the country right now. Times are certainly tough, but there’s a glimmer of hope on this Thanksgiving.

More than a dozen volunteers lined the kitchen at Venice Italian Eatery in Pitman to box up free turkey-day fare.

“We get all kinds of folks,” said owner Ron Zold. “We get people who are unemployed, people who don’t want to spend the day by themselves, a lot of people who are just down and out.”

Reported By Jim Osman

Despite hopes the economy would rebound, 2010’s financial outlook ended up as a turkey of its own. That’s why so many volunteers are needed to prepare the meals. Plenty of folks here are grateful that the price is right: free.

“I think it’s truly wonderful,” said Hudie McConnell, a caregiver. “I’m picking up a meal for my client, who doesn’t have family in the area, and I thought that’s wonderful for her, and she’s so excited about it.”

In the kitchen, they did a good job of recruiting agile volunteers. Catherine DiSimone’s job was to dole out the rolls and an interview at the same time.

“You’re keeping up while the rolls!” remarked CBS 3’s Jim Osman. “You can multitask, right?”

“That’s what happens when you’re female!” laughed DiSimone.

Besides the good fun, DiSimone says she leaves with a good feeling after an exhausting shift.

“It’s just rewarding to help and do this for other people,” she said.

This is the second year for the free Thanksgiving dinners. Last year, they served about 450 dinners. This year, they were expected to serve about 700.

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