Not everyone looks forward to Thanksgiving.
There's a lot behind the smiles and laughter that have come to define the holiday season.
WCIA 3's Cynthia Schweigert puts the spirit of the season in perspective and shows you how one woman overcame tough times to help others overcome theirs.
Giving people in need Thanksgiving meals has become as much of a tradition at Salt and Light as the holiday itself.
Nathan Montgomery, the organization's executive director says this year about 500 people signed up to get that special dinner.
"It's pretty easy to identify when someone doesn't have enough food or isn't able to provide Christmas for their kids and those are very important things that we talk about, but i think it's the underlying psychological aspects on these families, especially these mothers and fathers who are trying to provide when they can't'," says Montgomery.
Champaign-Urbana is a generous community.
Year after year, donations come pouring in, but when we were at Salt and Light, the line to get food stretched out the door and around the building.
It's evidence that there's still a lot of need here, and as we get closer to the holidays, there's even more pressure to put food on the table.
"That sense of hopelessness and despair only grows and gets bigger and when you feel like there's nothing you can do to change your situation, then what do you do and where do you turn?" says Nathan Montgomery.
Mary Kay Bosch turned to Salt and Light five years ago and started volunteering.
She's the driving force behind the assembly line that packs carts full of food for people who need it.
"I usually put the bags in the cart and I also call out doubles and singles. A double is for two families, and a single is for one family," Bosch explains.
Bosh is on disability for emotional issues and says she's been sad for most of her life.
She credits volunteering at Salt and Light for putting a smile back on her face.
"Other people talk to me and help me understand that I'm doing a good thing and I am a good person. It helps me to feel better about myself and raise my self esteem," Bosch says.
She admits, the holidays are hard for her too. She's tight on money and gets her food from Salt and Light.
"I have 5 brothers and sisters, plus I also have 8 nieces and nephews and I want to make sure they have a good Christmas."
But Bosch doesn't put herself first.
Instead, she makes sure everyone who
comes through this door goes home with full hands---but a lighter load to bear.
Even though Montgomery says the need goes up this time of year at Salt and Light, he says the organization is also flooded with calls from folks wanting to volunteer.
He says so many people ask to help, that usually Salt and Light has to turn people away.