'It's All About Friendship & Fellowship,' Says Mr. Thanksgiving

Nov 21, 2018

Thanks to a Moline man, thousands of people who'd be alone on Thanksgiving will enjoy socializing and eating turkey, mashed potatoes, dressing, and pumpkin pie. Michelle O'Neill reports Bob Vogelbaugh is well-known throughout the Quad Cities area as "Mr. Thanksgiving."

Forty-eight years ago, Bob Vogelbaugh and his parents ran a small grocery store in downtown Moline. When he asked several older customers about their Thanksgiving plans, they said it was just another day to be alone. That's when a "light bulb turned on" and he invited them over for Thanksgiving dinner.

Bob Vogelbaugh and his "right-hand woman" Vicki Birdsell-Baker (file)
Credit Michelle O'Neill / WVIK News

Since serving that first dinner party, Vogelbaugh and his friend Vicki Birdsell-Baker have fed and entertained thousands and thousands of people on Thanksgiving Day. Every year, around 300 volunteers show up at 3:00 in the afternoon. Vogelbaugh always encourages them not to just serve and clean up, but also to take plenty of time to talk with his dinner guests and show them a good time.