DuBOIS — No one should eat alone on Christmas Day and volunteers from Christ Lutheran Church are making sure that’s not an option for people in the DuBois and surrounding areas.
Members of the church invite the community to enjoy the fellowship of friends and a free home-cooked Christmas dinner from noon-2 p.m. Monday, Dec. 25, at the church located at 875 Sunflower Drive.
“It’s really about not being alone and having a place where there’s warm friendly people and a good meal,” said Ruth Bish, church member/organizer, along with Cindy Knobloch.
This is the third year Christ Lutheran Church has been hosting the dinner.
“Kathy Orcutt did it previously for many years,” said Bish. “She just started it so people who didn’t have anybody to spend Christmas with would have some place to go and a nice meal. She had friends and volunteers that helped her. It got to be too much for her so she was looking for a group to take it over. So we said we would.”
The number of attendees has been growing steadily since Christ Lutheran began hosting.
They estimated that about 30 volunteers served 100 people last year.
“And so we’re hoping that it’ll grow a little more again this year,” Knobloch said. “I think that’s our biggest problem is getting people there.”
Transportation is available from St. Michael’s Terrace at 11:30 a.m. and Bethany Covenant Church at 11:45 a.m.
The preparation for the dinner begins on Saturday.
“We’ll cook turkey and make stuffing balls and freeze them and just get as much of the food prep done as we can,” Bish said. “We’ll get the tables set up, that kind of thing. And then Christmas morning, we’ll come in about 9 a.m. and get the rest of the food ready and the food warmed up and be good to go at noon.”
There is never a shortage of volunteers or donations of food.
“The first year we were pretty freaked out. We didn’t know what we were getting into. And we had no idea how many people would come and we were nervous about that but since then, it’s like things just fall into place and we just go with whatever happens and it works out fine,” Bish said.
The dinner will be a traditional-style meal consisting of turkey, ham, stuffing balls, mashed potatoes, candied sweet potatoes, green beans, dinner rolls, cranberry sauce, coleslaw and then a variety of desserts.
“People from the congregation make and donate all the desserts,” Bish said.
“One thing this church does well is desserts,” said Knobloch.
With all the volunteers, nobody ever has to work very hard.
“Everybody does something and it’s fun,” said Bish. “I don’t think it’s at all stressful. Everything just falls into place.”
“And it’s not just one age group,” said Knobloch. “People come with their children, and the children will serve the tables with the parents and older people like to come and greet people.”
“We try to have a greeter at the door to direct people where to go and where to hang their coat up and where the restrooms are and that kind of thing,” Bish said. “We have people who set up a buffet line and people help serve from there. And we have people who just work in the kitchen. Then there’s some people who just come toward the end of the dinner to help clean up. It’s not like you’re committed from 9 to 3, people come and go. We’ve had lots of help.”
“I like to see families come with their kids, too,” said Knobloch. “It’s such a nice thing for them to learn to serve others and still have fun.”
“We had one family last year who actually celebrated Christmas a day early so they could come and bring their girls to help for the day. We’re fortunate people just want to help,” Knobloch said.
The two stressed that the dinner is for anybody who just wants somebody to spend Christmas with, have a nice dinner or can’t afford dinner.
Many people do not come alone — there are couples and even some families.
“We have people from our congregation that come,” Bish said. “If their children aren’t in town on Christmas and it doesn’t pay to make a big dinner, just come, we don’t turn anybody away.”
The dinner has become a big part of their Christmas.
“I think it enhances Christmas. It makes Christmas better,” Knobloch said. “My children have other grandparents and great-grandparents so by the the time they get around to us it’s afternoon or evening anyway, and then they stay the night. So we have a nice morning and afternoon and then we see our kids. So it just adds to the whole thing.”
“And for me, my daughter is home every other year,” Bish said. “So the year she’s home she cooked Christmas dinner at home and I just had to go home and dinner was ready. And now this year my daughter-in-law in town is cooking.”
“When my daughter is home with the kids, we’re up early enough that all the presents and all that is done and then grandma just leaves for a few hours and it’s fine,” Bish continued.
“And if your kids aren’t around, Christmas can be kind of isolating. You’re home alone and what do you do till then come?” Knobloch said.
Though they like to give back, they think they get more from the experience.
“I would miss it if we weren’t doing it,” Knobloch said.
Call the church with any questions at 371-2470.