They also had a vigil on the UI campus. Organizers did something similar last year on 9/11. But they had no idea they'd find themselves in this position again seven months later.
"Love is the most powerful weapon you can have in the face of evil, in the face of tragedy," said Ellie Brick, organizer and member of Interfaith in Action.
That type of love was blended and bagged by the hundreds, giving hungry families a home-cooked meal put together by strangers of different faiths feeding off a common goal.
"Some people respond to these attacks again by going to the corners and by radicalizing their positions of difference," Rabbi Rogerio Cukierman. "I think the groups on campus are saying, 'no, it is in this times of need we need all of us to come together instead of talking about difference and talk about what unites us.'"
Greg Damhorst, of Illini Fighting Hunger, one of the event's organizers, said "the more that we build relationships and build bridges across differences, whether that's religious, political, ethnic, national, whatever it is, the less violence we're going to have because people are going to know people who are different and that's going to change attitudes."
Volunteers were hoping that would happen after the terror attacks on 9/11. Seeing the tragedy in Boston only fueled their desire to keep trying.
"We already had this planned like I said, and it just seemed kind of appropriate to do service together. And then go and remember those who had been the victims of violence," said Damhorst.
They finished putting together more than 6,000 meals, all of which will go to the Eastern Illinois Food Bank.
Copyright 2015 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.