Chicago (CBS) — Veterans from around the Chicago area lined up at a vacant Dominick’s store in Romeoville, but it wasn’t your average grocery shopping experience.

They filled their carts with bags of traditional Thanksgiving food – turkeys, sides and other supplies.

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The non-traditional “store” is the brain child of a group called Caring Patriots.

Its founder started the charity with the goal of helping a few struggling veterans.

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“I’ve seen firsthand the direct need from our returning veterans that were facing some hard times,” Mike Cozzi said

Cozzi said the group wanted to take care of about 10 to 15 veterans in the first year, but they ended up helping more than 100. The annual food drive has continued to grow every year.

“It means a lot to me, and they’re always so nice and friendly,” said veteran Robert Hawkins.

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In all, more than 1,000 veterans and their families will have meals on their tables thanks to this year’s food drive.