By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Thanksgiving is the biggest day of the year for MANNA; the non-profit that provides meals for the critically ill.

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Some 200 volunteers helped prepare 2,400 dinners. It’s a feat that takes a lot of organization and a lot of heart.

MANNA provides 21 meals a week for nearly a thousand clients, year round, so they always rely on a hefty volunteer staff but they need twice as many on Thanksgiving because they deliver dinner for four, for the clients who request it.

The extra volunteers are not a problem. People start signing up in September.

“Every year, I’ve been coming with my aunt.”

Madi is 11 but already a six-year veteran of the effort.

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“I just like to know that it’s going to people that need it. And while I’m enjoying my meal that my grandparents cook for me, they’re enjoying their meal that we cook for them.”

92 year old Betsy helps out by volunteering at MANNA. (Credit: Pat Loeb)

At the other end of the kitchen was Betsy, 92.

Q: “How long have you been coming here, Betsy?”

Betsy: “Seems forever, I turn down all other invitations.”

While the volunteers serve year after year, executive director Susan Daugherty noted, the clients change, because they recover, “and partially that is because of you and the work that MANNA does every day.”

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