SIKESTON - It was a meal several hundred Sikeston residents gave thanks for. Now, organizers of the community Christmas dinner would like to extend a Christmas blessing.
Marlene Stevens and other local volunteers are planning the Christmas day dinner which will be served to those in need of a hot meal or who just want to gather together to share the holiday.
"There is a need so why not fill it?" said Stevens about the holiday meal for senior citizens. "You think about it and the people served Thanksgiving dinner probably still need meal on Christmas. They either have families that live far away or have families that can't come and get them."
Support for the community Thanksgiving dinner was overwhelming, she said. Donations enabled volunteers to deliver over 400 meals and serve approximately 100 people who gathered at the First Baptist Church on Main Street for the dinner.
Now, like the community Thanksgiving dinner, Stevens hopes others will step forward to help. She is looking for volunteers to take some time out of their holiday celebration to donate or to cook, serve, deliver and clean up.
"We had such a response from the community (at Thanksgiving) that we had some money and food left. Not enough to fund the entire Christmas meal but enough to get a good start," said Stevens.
The meal will include, ham, sweet potatoes, green beans, corn and a dessert. Deliveries are scheduled from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dec. 25; those who want to gather at the First Baptist Church for the meal should plan on eating at noon, Stevens said.
Volunteers can give as much time as they can spare that day - even a half-
hour is appreciated, Stevens emphasized. She suggested if the women are busy in the kitchen preparing Christmas dinner, the men might want to volunteer to deliver some of the meals.
About two dozen individuals helped with the Thanksgiving dinner. Stevens said they created an assembly line, filling all the go-plates in about an hour. "There is plenty to do. We found something for everyone who came in to do," she said.
Among those who volunteered at Thanksgiving were Teresa Dewitt and her daughters. According to DeWitt, the experience was rewarding.
"It didn't take very long," she said about volunteering. "They were so organized. We just went to the homes and delivered the meals. It was great."
Volunteers as well as those wanting a community Christmas dinner can call Stevens at 471-8697 or the First Baptist Church at 471-4122. Those who would like to donate gift certificates from Sikeston Food Giant and Wal-Mart to purchase food should bring them by prior to Dec. 24. Anyone wishing to make a dessert for the community Christmas dinner should drop it off at the church prior to 11 a.m. Dec. 25 or contact Stevens, who said she can pick it up.
"The community response was fabulous," said Stevens about the community Thanksgiving dinner. "Now, I want to tell the community thank you in advance for Christmas. It means so much to people who enjoy this meal to know someone is thinking about them."