When many locals were just waking up Saturday, Nov. 20, about 200 volunteers were setting up an assembly line at the Tarratine Hall.

By about 6:15 a.m., volunteers of all ages who came from points all over Waldo County were lined up around tables surrounded by food, ready to tackle the job of filling 725 Thanksgiving meal baskets.

One station was in charge of adding the turkey, while others methodically added potatoes, squash, stuffing and homemade pies, which came courtesy of the culinary students at the Waldo County Technical Center.

Despite the amount of items to be included in each box, the work was completed swiftly and joyfully, with volunteers adding to the energy in the room with good-natured chatter, encouragement and laughter.

And according to Tabitha Lowe of Waldo County Action Partners, the crew completed the task of filling the boxes in about 50 minutes. Lowe said about 100 more families had requested a Thanksgiving box this year, a jump that she described as “significant.”

Once the boxes were filled and piled into various spots throughout the hall, the next order of business was to load the boxes into car trunks, truck beds and the backs of station wagons. As each vehicle was filled, firefighters from Waldo County communities delivered the boxes to families for the holiday.

Sandy Palmer of Montville, who has been part of the volunteer effort for the past several years, said he was always amazed at how efficiently the volunteers worked together.

“Everybody came in and just took charge,” he said. “It gets better every year, everything just flows.”

The organization of the meal boxes is a joint effort by People for People, Neighbor for Neighbor and WCAP. Volunteers will be asked to assemble once again to complete the same kind of work at the Belfast Armory before Christmas.

“We’ll be doing twice as many boxes for Christmas,” said Lowe.

Palmer said being a part of an effort like this one reminded him of the importance of helping neighbors.

“People need to look out for each other,” he said.