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Centre Co. churchs opens doors for free Christmas meal
One Centre County church is giving back this holiday season. They opened it's doors to the public for a free holiday meal. The food is donated and the meal is prepared by volunteers to make sure no one is without a hot meal on Christmas Day.
The cranberry sauce is scooped, more than 20 turkeys have been roasted and 300 potatoes have been mashed. Volunteers with the State College Presbyterian Church said this is what it will take to feed the 350 community members expected to walk through the churchs doors on Christmas Day.
They might not have any place to be today, so this is what I call Grandma's living room, Greg Elliot, the Christmas dinner coordinator explained. This is something we started a few years ago and it has become popular.They eat and don't get shuffled out right away, they can stay and talk and have some fellowship.
By a few years, Elliot means 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 tragic car accident right around the holidays. It's 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. And I just couldn't imagine doing anything else on Christmas day," Lauren Elliot said as she began preparing plates to be delieveryed to those in the community who could not make it out.
From smallest helper to lifelong attendants, everyone is welcome at the table to feast on food. Food, that is all donated and prepared by volunteers. The woman in charge of making sure the food gets from the oven to the table is Cheryl Price. Price is the 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.
Price said some come for the food, others come for the fellowship but all leave a little fuller.