DETROIT (WWJ) – More than 1,000 people will get a free meal Tuesday, thanks to the Forgotten Harvest and its annual holiday dinner.

WWJ’s Vickie Thomas took a tour of Forgotten Harvest, where volunteers were preparing for the year’s biggest meal.

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“This is truly a community celebration, one of the largest in the community that we know of. It will serve over 1,000 people and 700 children. The Marroitt staff just absolutely lays out a scrumptious dinner with turkey, ham, bread, green beans, you name it, the best food that we can find,” said John Owens, Forgotten Harvest spokesman.

More than 100 volunteers from the Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center and the General Motors Foundation will serve the meal in the Renaissance Ballroom, joined by Thomas, former University of Michigan “Fab Five” and NBA basketball player Jalen Rose, and Vivian Pickard, president of the General Motors Foundation.

“It is a spectacle when you see 1,000 smiles, and that’s what you see is 1,000 smiles. People that might not normally get this kind of treatment walk into that ballroom, you’re overwhelmed by the beauty of things,” said Owens.

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Volunteers will also help create a festive holiday atmosphere through family friendly gifts and activities, including a special visit from Santa and his elves.

Much of the food for the holiday dinner is contributed specially by local supporters of Forgotten Harvest. This year’s contributions include 600 pounds of turkey presented by individuals within the community, 500 pounds of ham contributed by Honeybaked Ham, pies from Big Boy, cakes and pastries from Morning Glory Pastries, 1,500 breadsticks from Breads by Bosco and potatoes, green beans, cranberry and stuffing from U.S. Foods.

“The need is great and the need isn’t going away, that’s the problem, it’s getting bigger and bigger. Right now, today, there’s 800,000 people in the tri-county area, Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties, who either don’t have food at all and they’re hungry or they face a lack of food in their homes for their families,” said Owens.

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The dinner takes place 5 p.m. Tuesday at The Marroitt Renaissance Center in Detroit. For more information, visit