(CBS) — St. Sabina Parish and community groups teamed up Tuesday to offer free box dinners for parishioners and others in the Auburn Gresham neighborhood.

Twenty-three hundred people got free dinners to mark the holiday season.

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“Food is a blessing right now. That’s why it was important for me to come out here and get something to eat – something nice and warm for me and my son,” says Juan Diaz, who was there with his 13-year-old son, DeAndre Burrell.

“We got cereal but ran out of milk. I had to go get some milk for him today so he could keep eating. So, this is great,” Diaz says.

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People could take the meals to go or eat them at BJ’s Market and Bakery.

John Meyer and his brother, Hank, own the restaurant at 79th and Racine. They and other prominent Chicagoans pick up the tab.

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It began with a question among community members eight years ago, explains St. Sabina Father Michael Pfleger: “What if all combined our resources and fed people? They said, ‘Great, let’s do it.’”