Guests invited, volunteers needed for Christmas Day dinner

Truth file photo A volunteer brings pie to guests at the 2014 Goshen First Presbyterian Church Christmas Day dinner. The church is looking for volunteers for this year’s event. 

GOSHEN — In the spirit of Christmas, Goshen’s First Presbyterian Church is continuing its 20-year tradition of serving others on Christmas Day.

On Dec. 25, the church is hoping to see hundreds of people enjoying a meal that will be served at 1 p.m.

“The primary goal of the dinner is to serve the community. To help those in need, to provide a place for families to sit down and eat together without having to go to the trouble to prepare a meal,” said volunteer coordinator Karen Wellington. “It doesn’t matter to us why you come to the dinner, we just want to be there to serve you.”

She said about 350 people came last year, with an additional 50 or so being volunteers. To make the event a better experience, Wellington is hoping to attract 10 or 20 more volunteers this year. Whether volunteers or guests are members of the church makes no difference.

“It requires a lot to pull the event off well,” Wellington said.

Volunteers will bring meals and drinks to the guests as if the church were a restaurant, but no training or experience is necessary ahead of time.

“My son is now 13, and he’s been helping for the last, probably, three to five years in different capacities,” Wellington said.

That is part of what makes the event a good opportunity for families to spend time together doing something good for others, she believes.

“What better way to embody the spirit of family than to serve others,” Wellington said. “There’s nothing more rewarding than serving others with your family. That is family time.”

But a significant part of volunteers in past years have been individuals that were unable to join family for Christmas but then find a community on the volunteer team.

Wellington said that jobs can be found for just about anyone, so being able to carry food isn’t a bar that must be cleared to volunteer. And even people who cannot show up on Dec. 25 might still help, as Wellington is hoping to continue a tradition of serving home-made pie. Specifically, she said, the church is looking for apple, pumpkin and pecan pies.

As for the main course and side dishes, the church previously has gotten those with the help of bakeries, restaurants and grocery stores and plan on doing that again. No one will be asked for any kind of donation at the dinner.

Some previous dinners have had live music, which is something Wellington is hoping for again this year. She said that instrumental music is preferred and that a piano is available.

Most volunteers will be asked to show up around noon and should be able to leave around 3 p.m. To sign up and to coordinate specific jobs or time frames, call the First Presbyterian Church at 574-533-7845.

Follow Rasmus S. Jorgensen on Twitter at @ReadRasmus

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