Waiting in line outside the Carson Valley Community Food Closet on Tuesday, 79-year-old Joan Tallerino reflected on how significant this year's Thanksgiving meal will be for her.
"It's the first time having dinner with my family in a long time," the Gardnerville resident said. "It's going to be a special, special holiday for us."
Inside, volunteers from the Douglas County Sheriff's Mounted Posse and others worked an assembly line of Thanksgiving dinner boxes to be distributed to more than 500 families.
"The people who have been doing this for years are the ones who are here," said Tina Tubridy, who was hired as the closet's new director in July. "Everybody that works here wants to be here. They come in with open hearts. It's inspiring."
One regular food closet volunteer, Nancy Hollenbach, said the Thanksgiving dinner distribution was her favorite day.
"I love it. Wouldn't you love to give Thanksgiving dinner to 500 families?" she said. "It's one of my most favorite things I do for the food closet. Douglas County is so generous to the food closet, and we are so thankful because our clients are so thankful for it."
Minden resident Lucia Munoz, 22, was one of those thankful clients. This year is her son's first Thanksgiving dinner.
"It's nice for us. It means bringing the family together. It's a blessing from God," she said. "It's the one day that we give thanks for everything, and to be able to do it with a nice, hot dinner is good."
Because of the help from the food closet, Gardnerville resident Stephanie Grow will be able to have a Thanksgiving dinner with her family.
"My son is coming from Seattle," the 50-year-old said. "It's great especially when you are unemployed. It helps out a lot. This is a good thing for the community."
Minden resident Vaughan Davis said the reason she volunteers is because of how much the food recipients appreciate it.
"I think because it's so appreciated that it is so rewarding," Davis said. "It's very satisfying helping people."
Davis' daughter, Kathy Mollet, comes from Nevada City, Calif., each year to volunteer with her mother.
"I do a lot of volunteer work with nonprofits, and this is another way to give back to a different community," she said. "It's a good thing. We're pretty fortunate to not be the one's standing in line, so it's out turn in our lives to give back."