Tummies were full and smiles were bright during Lawrence’s Free Community Christmas Dinner on Thursday at First United Methodist Church.
About 100 volunteers spent part of their holiday serving around 900 warm meals to the needy and others, many of whom had no family in town, organizers said.
“There are times when so many people come … that we run over each other,” said Brower Burchill, an event organizer. “We have so many generous people.”
The volunteers began showing up at 6 a.m. Thursday at the church, 946 Vt., to prepare the meal. Others came later to dish up plates filled with turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, pies and fruit.
In the event’s 15th year, organizers said about 420 meals were served at the church and an additional 480 were prepared for those who picked up to-go plates or requested they be delivered to their homes by an additional 60 volunteer delivery drivers.
Organizers said about 100 more meals were served this year compared with last year.
“We didn’t know what to anticipate this year, with the economy,” said Dave Baldwin, volunteer coordinator. “But it went well. We had plenty of food.”
The annual dinner was originally organized by the Flamingo Club in North Lawrence, but is now planned by a group of community volunteers, Baldwin said. Many area businesses donate supplies and food for the event.