More than 3,000 people battling life-threatening illnesses are receiving free cooked meals for Thanksgiving.

Food and Friends is back with its annual Thanksgiving operation. The organization provides specialized meals and groceries to clients fighting HIV/Aids, diabetes, cancer and other illnesses year-round. Nutrition counseling is also provided.

This Thanksgiving, 3,500 people will receive meals. It is more than 18,000 pounds of food. The meals include string beans, corn, sweet potatoes, bread rolls, a turkey and more. The meals can feed up to six people, providing an opportunity for clients to host their own friends and loved ones.

More than 1,100 volunteers are a part of the Thanksgiving operation.

Food and Friends is the only regional non-profit helping men, women and children battling critical illnesses, according to the organization. In 2017, nearly one million meals were delivered to more than 2,000 clients.

When the organization started in 1988, it operated out of the basement Westminster Presbyterian Church with just 20 volunteers who delivered 15 meals a day to 60 clients. Now, it operates out of a state-of-the-at kitchen and pantry facility in Northeast.

Food and Friends has delivered more than 20 million meals to nearly 30,000 clients since it started. Donations keep it going.

If you would like to donate, you can do so on the organization's website.