MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Minnesota organization raised more than $100,000 this year to put together Thanksgiving meals for those in need.

Volunteers with Open Arms of Minnesota spent Thursday morning packing made-from-scratch turkey dinners for Minnesotans with life-threatening illnesses. For many of the volunteers, it was a Thanksgiving tradition.

“I think over the last year we’ve realized how lonely some folks are,” said Corinna Gilbert, of Prior Lake. “They have been in their homes for so long, especially because of COVID, but also because of their illnesses, And this is just a way for us to say to them, hey, we love you, there are people out here that care about you.”

Mark Sauerbrey and Denis Taylor, of Oakdale, have been volunteering with Open Arms Minnesota every Thanksgiving for the last 18 years. They say that every stop they make leaves a mark.

The two remembered one home they visited where a woman invited them into her home and shared with them her story of battling cancer.

“It was touching to almost be included in family,” Sauerbrey said.

Open Arms Minnesota does weekly meal drop-offs for those with life-threatening illnesses. There are volunteer opportunities year-round. For more information, click here.

Erin Hassanzadeh