Volunteers will deliver roughly 2,300 Thanksgiving meals to needy New Bedford area residents on Thursday.

Matt Medeiros, a volunteer with the Dartmouth Bible Church, tells WBSM News that this the 20th year they have been distributing the meals saying the operation began with preparing 300 meals in the First Baptist Church and was able to expand considerably thanks in large part to a collaboration with Greater New Bedford Regional Vocational-Technical High School.

"We grew out of the William St. church and asked New Bedford Voc if they would allow us to use their kitchen, that was about ten to twelve years ago, and that has been a huge blessing," said Medeiros.

While the church is coordinating much of the work, Medeiros says the volunteers, especially the drivers, come from many sections of the community.

"We've got over a dozen New Bedford Police officers, there are Court Officers, there are a bunch of individuals that work for Eversource, and a number of organizations in the area that help bring the meals," said Medeiros.

Medeiros says that for many of the recipients the delivery is more than just food, it's a way to reach out to those who feel vulnerable and alone.

"They're able to not only give them meals, but a smile and say 'Happy Thanksgiving,' and to make them feel special," said Medeiros "it's helping people feel that they're not forgotten and that they are cared for and loved."