CLINTON — A truck filled with folding chairs was being unloaded at the Victory Center Rescue Mission on Monday morning, just about the time Dr. Ahmed Elahmady was presenting a donation to the center’s Pastor Ray Gimenez to cover the entire cost of the mission’s annual Thanksgiving meal.

This is the third year Elahmady has made such a donation to the center for the Thanksgiving event for people in need. He first was prompted to donate to the Victory Center several years ago after reading a Clinton Herald article highlighting the center’s need for funding.

“It’s an overwhelming feeling to be able to help Pastor Ray and the center,” said Elahmady, adding, “There’s nothing like giving to this feast of Thanksgiving.”

Elahmady describes Clinton as “his home,” and his yearly contribution is in appreciation of a community he said warmly embraced him and his family 15 years ago.

Elahmady is impressed with how far the Victory Center has gone in its work to help people, particularly with the relatively small market the mission has to appeal to, as Gimenez stated.

Gimenez said he and Pastor Rob Miltenberger have always been amazed at the generosity and compassion of Clinton area residents — like Mayor LaMetta Wynn, who will be providing opening comments and a prayer at this Wednesday’s dinner.

Gimenez and Miltenberger said this year’s Thanksgiving meal promises to be as popular as those of years past. Gimenez said his wife, Mary Ann, is filling two shopping carts with groceries from Hy-Vee and Wal-Mart, and the dinner attendees who come closest in their guess on the total dollar amount of each cart will win its contents.

Family Video has donated 20 turkeys, and more than 25 will be given to those in need. In addition, both pastors listed restaurant gift certificates, cash prizes and toys (including two bicycles) that will be awarded to dinner participants.

Last year’s Thanksgiving dinner served more than 500 people and this year organizers hope to do the same.

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