Meadville Tribune

Local News

November 22, 2012

Help wanted: Free, public holiday dinners keep growing

MEADVILLE — For Meadville resident Bill Foster, ‘tis the season of “Gobble, gobble, gobble — ho, ho, ho!”

The groaning board practically overflowing with turkey and every conceivable trimming bisecting the dining room at the Family and Community Christian Association building on Chestnut Street was still, well, groaning early Thursday afternoon. With his 36th annual Thanksgiving dinner well under way, however, Foster, who co-chairs the event with Crawford County Commissioner Sherman Allen, was already moving on.

The next stop for the Foster/Allen show? Dec. 25 — Christmas Day. Same time: noon to 1 p.m. Same place: 378 Chestnut St. in picturesque downtown Meadville. While donations are gratefully accepted, both Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners are free and open to the public.

Based on their Thanksgiving experience — which included delivering 231 meals, about twice the usual number — organizers are gearing up for a real rush at Christmas.

“What I’d really like people to know is that we always need help as far as donations of food,” Foster said as he surveyed his bustling realm. “This dinner is using about twice the amount of food as we’d go through in a normal year because of all the takeout — so we’re running a little short.” An early casualty was gravy, which was definitely in short supply, but thankful diners somehow managed to soldier on.

Anyone interested in participating in the Christmas celebration should call the association offices at 337-4279 Monday through Thursday 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Friday, 6 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Saturday from 10 to 11:30 a.m.

“Someone will take down the information about whether you want to come, donate food or money or serve as a volunteer,” Foster said.

Those who want to donate food, however, are asked to limit their donations to large sizes. “Number-10 cans of sweet potatoes, green beans, peas, anything like that is definitely welcome,” Foster said. “We need it in big volume because the dinners are getting bigger and bigger.”

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