MADISON (WKOW) -- Many economists say the recession is over, but tell that to those who can't celebrate Thanksgiving on their own terms.
27 News was at a local church where hundreds arrived for a meal Thursday.
There were almost 350 people eating a meal at First United Methodist Church, and more volunteers than the church has ever seen.
David Kinley of Madison is without a job this year. He brought his wife and two daughters to eat Thanksgiving meal.
Kinley says, "It's very special to me, without this church we probably wouldn't have anything. Salvation Army is closed down during the day, so I just thank God for giving us the opportunity to have somewhere to go."
Even before that room filled up, it took hours of work for volunteers to prepare hundreds of pounds of food.
Ted Blazel, the coordinator for this year's Thanksgiving feast, says, "Last year it was a steep increase: this year it's held about the same as last year."
Parishioners of the church and local food banks brought in 50 pies, 300 pounds of potatoes, 34 turkeys, and 500 dinner rolls.
Earl Thayer, an 87-year-old volunteer here for the past eight years, says, "They're just people like me. Some of them have more problems, and if I can help them in anyway, I want to do that. It means a lot to me, but I also hope it means a lot to them."
Volunteers served more than 350 meals at the church, and delivered about that many meals to people who couldn't leave their homes this Thanksgiving.
Extra food will go to area food pantries. Just last week, a national study showed one in seven American households have trouble putting food on the table every day.
Meals like this are even more necessary this year. One Dane County food pantry saw their busiest month in September, serving 500 families a week 20-thousand pounds of food.
Online reporting by Teresa Mackin