It started out as a practical joke. Someone put a Craigslist ad with Austin Hermsen‘s phone number on it, claiming he would give away free turkeys to families who called his number.

What bothered Austin most about the prank was the number of calls he got in response to the fake ad. It broke his heart to realize how many people could really use help on Thanksgiving.

So Austin, a Marion resident, and his friend Nick Dusil organized a charity drive they call #OperationGiveBirds.

They posted their idea on Facebook, asking for donations and raised over $1300 to help feed local families.

They purchased turkeys, green beans, corn, potatoes and more which helped them to provide meals for about 80 families.

Austin told CBS2 News that they ultimately received hundreds of calls from families asking for meal assistance, which was more than they could provide this year. However they plan on making this a yearly tradition.

And the sweetest thing about the whole plan? Austin discovered the person who posted that original prank ad in Craigslist, and said that person has since donated a turkey to the cause. That's what make this such a sweet story to tell.

Because that’s exactly what Thanksgiving is really all all about.

[source: CBS2 News]