LANSING (WILX)-- Thanksgiving's supposed to be a holiday that celebrates family and gratitude, but for some it's reminder of hard times.
For the Kelly family Thanksgiving has never been a happy holiday. Their four kids have never had a true Thanksgiving dinner.
"We've had some troubles in the past. Some of our kids actually know Thanksgiving as chicken and ramen noodles," said father Michael Kelly.
Wanting them to experience the real holiday this year, Kelly took his family to the Cristo Rey Community Center's 27th annual Thanksgiving dinner. The kids were able to eat a true Thanksgiving meal, turkey and all.
For Kelly, he said this was one of the better Thanksgivings they've have had in a while.
"We're very thankful for Cristo Rey, the volunteers, and the countless hours they put in. Thank you."
In the Lansing area Cristo Rey Community Center and St. Gerard's Church have served Thanksgiving meals consistently for more than 25 years each. Combined the two served more than six hundred meals Thursday.
"Thanks goes full circle here. People sitting down certainly thankful for the meal and others in the kitchen certainly thankful that they have the ability to do so," said Cristo Rey Executive Director Joe Garcia.
But a tradition has to start sometime, and that's exactly why Blondie's Barn, a restaurant in Haslett, gave out free meals this year.
"This is our first year doing it, but the community's been great to me so we thought this is one way to help back," said Dawn Manuel, owner of Blondie's Barn.
There were plenty of people who took up the all you can eat offer at Blondie's Barn. Manuel says the turn out was so good, she plans on doing it again next year.