Military families in Groton received free Thanksgiving meals Wednesday, thanks to Operation Homefront.
Two local sponsors, Dime Bank and UCFS Healthcare, donated to make the event happen. It was Operation Homefront's second year in Groton for the Thanksgiving holiday.
"We are trying to make this as easy as possible to help the families to just have a really nice dinner for the holidays," said Nick Caplanson, president and CEO of Dime Bank.
A total of 125 families received food, gift cards, cleaning supplies, and gifts from Santa.
"It is phenomenal. They are always so great and smiling. It makes me happy," said Christine Ramirez. Ramirez's husband is in the Navy now and she used to serve as well. They live in Gales Ferry and have been a military family for 18 years. "They gave us great food because, you know, times are hard sometimes for some families."
Operation Homefront said that had a full waitlist for the event.
"Many Americans can't make ends meet and then when you add the military aspect to it...it adds that struggle to having a holiday meal fully prepared on the table," said Kaylyn Lockyer, with Operation Homefront.
Carinna McGregor said she wouldn't know what to do for Thanksgiving without the event. Her husband is deployed right now. She is in school full time and cares for their two children.
"We have to budget every penny at this point so having an event like this is very beneficial to us," said McGregor.
The goal of the event was to help ease some of the financial burden for families, while also letting them know that they have support.
"A community of support that values what they do- that values the contribution and sacrifice they are making for us," said Jennifer Granger, president and CEO of UCFS Healthcare.