What started as idea to support Bob Vogelbaugh’s annual Thanksgiving dinner evolved into a team effort for 11 Hy-Vee stores in the Quad-Cities.

The stores collected contributions this month at the area stores for “Mr. Thanksgiving’s” dinner, which was shared by 2,700

people last week at SouthPark Mall, Moline.

Thursday, the store directors presented Vogelbaugh with a check for $10,194.

He said the money will help with bills now and for next year’s dinner.

“We still have outstanding bills but will have some left over for next year, too,” Vogelbaugh said. “You can’t beat the Quad-Cities and the Midwest for their support.”

This year’s dinner was the 42nd organized by Vogelbaugh, who originated the free feast in his tiny neighborhood grocery store in Moline. It has grown every year. He said this year, 400 volunteers served 2,200 pounds of turkey and side dishes. He said each annual dinner costs $17,000.

The Hy-Vee fundraiser began last year with the Avenue of the Cities store in Moline selling “turkey cards” and expanded to all stores this year.

“I always thought it was a great thing, and I didn’t know how to help,” said Sharm Wenndt, director of the Avenue of the Cities store. “I just wanted to help Bob and take some of the stress off him.”

Wenndt said the turkey cards were Hy-Vee’s idea. Each card displayed a picture of Vogelbaugh, and customers could buy different cash denominations. All proceeds went to the Thanksgiving event.

Store directors said they will continue the fundraising effort next November.

When asked how long he will continue to lead the dinner, Vogelbaugh said “as long as my health is good.”