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Centre Co. churchs opens doors for free Christmas meal
By: WJAC Web Staff and Lauren Hensley
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- A Centre County church spent Christmas Day giving back to the community this holiday season by opening their doors to the public for a free holiday meal.
Volunteers with the State College Presbyterian Church spent the day preparing and serving the means to make sure no one was without a hot meal on Christmas Day.
Volunteers cooked more than 20 turkeys and mashed more than 300 potatoes to help feed about 350 community members who were expected at the church.
They might not have any place to be today, so this is what I call Grandma's living room, said church member and dinner coordinator Greg Elliot.
This is something we started a few years ago and it has become popular, Elliot said. They eat and don't get shuffled out right away, they can stay and talk and have some fellowship.
By a few years, Elliot said this has been his church's tradition for more than 20 years. Elliot said the inspiration came from two church members after they lost their daughter in a car accident around the holidays.
The dinner is a Christmas tradition even older than Elliot's daughter Lauren, but Lauren said she couldn't imagine celebrating Christmas any other way.
Ive been doing this for 15 years and it has always been a part of my life, Lauren Elliot said. I just couldn't imagine doing anything else on Christmas day."
A volunteer member whos in charge of making sure the food gets from the oven to the table was Cheryl Price, the churchs kitchen coordinator.
All you have to do is look at those folks out there enjoying a meal and you can't have a better reward than that, Price said.