GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Hundreds gathered at DeVos Place Thursday as Mel Trotter Ministries hosted its annual Thanksgiving meal.

With the cost of food prices continuing to rise, Beth Fisher, the chief advancement officer for Mel Trotter, said that the need for a helping hand is even greater this year.

“So many people will be here today who otherwise would not be able to afford a Thanksgiving meal,” she said. “Also, so many folks, just in community, who are on very tight budgets. [They’re] living paycheck to paycheck.”

Fisher estimated nearly 1500 guests will have been served by the end of Thursday’s meal. While all the food was donated, 700 volunteers still offered up their own time to cook.

“We know that it’s hard for our families and even more so for those who are less fortunate than us,” said volunteer Stephanie Hester.

A total of 79 turkeys, 550 pounds of stuffing and over 600 pounds of potatoes were prepared over the past couple of days. That gave guests like Emmanuel Colter something to look forward to.

“The stuffing is good,” he said.

Mel Trotter also handed out coats today to anyone who needs a warm jacket this winter, as part of its Code Blue Coat Drive.