MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Hundreds of friends and family members of those deployed in Kuwait with the Minnesota National Guard gathered to eat a meal Saturday with their deployed loved ones.

Dozens of restaurants and other sponsors hosted two steak dinners at the same time, one in St. Paul and one in Kuwait. In total, they served about 5,000 steak dinners.

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The event was extra special for Shana Schaefer.

“We usually get to FaceTime him every day most days, and talk with him via text or phone,” Schaefer said. “It’s just more special when it’s a big event and, you know, that you have a big community supporting you. That’s what really fun about it.”

(credit: CBS)

Schaefer and her four kids saw their dad on the big screen, and got to talk to him over the phone and via Skype. She said she feels the love from everyone here in Minnesota.

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“I love living in Minnesota as a military family, I really do. I feel like the people of Minnesota, including Serving our Troops and all kinds of other organizations just really support us. And it brings me to tears, how much support and love that they show us,” Schaefer said.

For most families here, this gathering is so much for than a meal. Nicole Overman’s husband is also overseas.

“I want my kids to feel like there’s other people like them going through the same thing,” Overman said. “So we come and join everyone else and feel like part of a community.”

Serving Our Troops has been doing this event since 2004. Saturday, they served their 100,000th steak.

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Katie Steiner

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