(COLORADO SPRINGS) — Mt. Carmel Veterans Service Center will provide Thanksgiving meals to over 1,500 local military servicemembers, veterans, and military families on Thursday, Nov. 17.

“We do this every year and we’re very thankful to Fort Carson and the community there,” said Sgt. First Class David Hong. “We’re very thankful for the turkeys because we get a chance to bless the soldiers and the families.”

The event has been hosted on the Mt. Carmel Veterans Service Center campus for the past six years.

“It’s very rewarding for us, especially now, we’re all thankful for their service,” said Retired Army Col. Bob McLaughlin, Mt. Carmel Executive Director. “We’re thankful for the veterans. And it’s just a gesture to show our thanks to those who put their lives on the line for this nation.”

Mt. Carmel provided Thanksgiving meals through Operation Turkeys for Troops with 1,200 donated turkeys and 300 donated grocery gift cards.

“I think it means a lot for the soldiers because a lot of our soldiers, you know, they’re separated,” said Hong. “We have a lot of family members back here while their loved ones are down range. So this speaks volume, you know, just like just the act of giving.”

Recipients of the holiday turkeys were identified by local military chaplains, Mt. Carmel case managers and peer navigators.

“It’s a small token, but it means so much for when you see the looks on their faces,” said McLaughlin. “The people who are coming to pick it up and then when someone gets their turkey, it’s just it’s incredible.”

Representatives from all five installations came to pick up turkeys.

“Every year the chain of command comes here and we distribute them to our service members from all five installations Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines,” said McLaughlin.

Beyond Operation Turkeys for Troops, Mt. Carmel Veterans Service Center provides transition and employment assistance, health and wellness services, and supportive services to local military, veterans and their families. Mt. Carmel often partners with base chaplains and local organizations supporting the military, Gold Star families, and wounded warriors to provide food assistance vouchers and more.