If you were hungry for a good meal on Christmas, the Free Community Holiday Dinner was the place to be.
Volunteers at the meal held from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday at First United Methodist Church, 946 Vt. put out a spread with just about every dish anyone could want for a holiday feast.
All the bases were covered.
The traditional meal featured 23 turkeys, 20 hams, 250 pounds of mashed potatoes and 20 gallons of turkey gravy.
Then there were sweet potatoes, stuffing, corn, green beans, rolls, relish and cheese trays and bread pudding. Plus there were tables laden with homemade pies, cakes, cookies and fudge.
Lani Oglesby, the event's coordinator, estimated that 300 people turned out for the dinner, held in FUMC's Fellowship Hall. And volunteers delivered another 200 free meals to those who had requested them.
Volunteers called the dinner a success.
"It's just a nice, friendly thing to do, a sharing with the community," said Mary Burchill, who serves on the committee that organizes the event each year.
"You get people who need a good meal, people who want companionship on Christmas Day. People who want to come for the food and the fellowship."
Everyone who came to the dinner, or had a meal delivered, received a poinsettia plant, donated by the Sunrise Garden Center, 15th and New York. The Paper Warehouse, 1441 S.W. 23rd St., donated all the paper goods used at the event.
The event is made possible, Burchill said, by many individuals and businesses in Lawrence who annually contribute about $1,200 worth of food and other items.
Fifty to 60 volunteers showed up at 6 a.m. Tuesday to help cook the meal, make deliveries and clean up afterward.
Joseph Stockett, who is staying at a temporary shelter in the gymnasium of St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church, 1234 Ky., seemed thrilled with the holiday meal.
"I wanted to have some sense of Christmas fellowship with others. I'm alone, and I wanted to be part of the community," he said.
"And, of course, there's the food. It was scrumptious. The turkey was the best part."
His friend, Phil Mansfield, appeared equally pleased.
"This is Christmas Day. It's the happiest chance I have to spend with people who eat at the LINK kitchen. This is a big shindig," he said.
"People come here to have a meal, but they still have worries about all kinds of stuff. But they put it out of their minds for Christmas Day."