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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Thousands of home-bound seniors in North Texas will get a hot turkey dinner and a visit from a friendly face this Thanksgiving. The 1,000 VNA Meals on Wheels volunteers will deliver 4,300 dinners across Dallas County, just in time for lunch.

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This year’s menu includes turkey and gravy, cornbread stuffing, green beans, pudding and fresh fruit. Staffers arrived at 4:00 a.m. to begin cooking the meals. The program relies on thousands of volunteers to help every day.

Katherine Krause, the CEO of VNA, said that the need is even greater — 2,800 people are on the waitlist. Sixty-seven percent of the group’s clients are women. “The importance of social nutrition that comes with a person showing up on the doorstep, to say ‘you still matter’ and make the connection with that person, really helps sustain [the clients’] lives,” said Krause.

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One volunteer, to deliver one route on just one day, saves the organization enough money to pay for food for one senior for an entire week.

Jesuit College Preparatory students woke up early to help, too. “It’s such a tiny thing to do, and it really helps the community out and also reminds us what our community is,” said Alistair Keggen, a junior at the school.

It’s not only the value of nutritional health for the seniors, but mental health that makes this effort important. “Having that visitor to deliver a hot, nutritious meal plus the friendly smile — the connection, human connection — is critical for their well-being,” said Krause.

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VNA Meals on Wheels needs the community’s support through dollars to pay for food, and volunteers to deliver it. Click here to learn more.