Bill Foster’s legacy will always live on in our community. Without Bill, what started as a simple way of a few individuals joining together to celebrate the holidays would not be what it is today — a means to providing a free holiday meal to nearly 400 individuals!
In 1977 Bill volunteered to coordinate the community Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners at the Family & Community Christian Association (former YWCA). Bill recognized people may be alone on the holidays and wanted a place that people could come to.
Bill spent a few Christmases alone and said "it was no fun.” Bill’s desire to create this lasting tradition wasn’t to provide for those experiencing financial hardships, it was to provide a warm environment that people could come together and share a meal regardless of your financial means and situation. Bill told people “don’t spend the day alone, come spend it with us.” The FCCA Thanksgiving and Christmas community dinners are not just about the food, it’s about the people and Bill Foster is the reason why.
Bill built the dinners from 150 served and 36 home deliveries in 2000 to what it is today of serving well over 400 dinners through sit-downs and home deliveries. Bill prided himself by recognizing the dinner as a time for family. He once said, “We’re probably the biggest family in Pennsylvania.”
Bill dedicated 40 years building this legacy that he leaves us, a legacy built on the principals and beliefs of our agency — family and community. Last year was Bill’s first year in 40 years that he didn’t spend his holidays at the FCCA. I called him on Thanksgiving to let him know we were thinking of him and missing him. I said, “Can I bring you up a dinner?” And he said, “No, I’m spending it with family.” Bill was always with family on holidays.
The doors of our building and community were open wide during the holiday season because of Bill Foster. We can never express our gratitude for the service and dedication he provided other than to continue his legacy by serving one another.
Editor's note: Regina Merritt is executive director of the French Family & Community Christian Association. Foster passed away on Feb. 4.