WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) - While most people will be off work enjoying time with friends and family and probably eating way too much food, for some, it's one of the busiest days of the year, and people right here in Wichita will be working hard to make sure no one goes hungry.

"This is the beast here, man. So that's a rotating smoker," said Jody Merkle.

Merkle is the Kitchen Manager at Two Brothers BBQ and has spent his entire career doing what he loves – feeding people.

But one of his favorite days of the year is just around the corner.

"My role for the last seven years now is getting all the turkeys that they'll do," said Merkle.

Every year, Merkle smokes up around 100 of some of the best turkeys you've ever had and sends them to Convoy of Hope for its annual free community Thanksgiving meal.

"I think when Covid hit, I think that really was something that solidified how much we need each other, and the community aspect, and the family aspect," said Cheri Lankford.

Lankford is the Convoy of Hope Thanksgiving Director. She says she expects around 800 people at Bethel Life Center Thursday, to eat a proper thanksgiving meal, just like at Grandma's house, and she says everyone is welcome.

"It's not just those in need. It's those that don't have a family. There's military families, there's college students that can't make it home for the holidays. So it truly is just a welcoming community meal for anyone who just wants that sense of family when they don't have that," said Lankford.

Merkle says as much work as it takes burning the midnight oil to get all the turkey ready in time, seeing the smiles on everyone's faces makes it all worth it.

"You don't know the impact you're making until you see it on the news. And like I said, that line that's sometimes wrapped around all the way back to the highway it's kind of crazy. But no, it does make you feel good," said Merkle.

The doors at Bethel Life Center will be open Thursday from 11 am until 2 p.m.

Lankford says she can also always use extra help, so if you want to, you can sign up to volunteer during the event. Click here for more information.