The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

December 25, 2012

Hundreds help prepare, serve community meals in Joplin

JOPLIN, Mo. — Christmas cheer was served up with a side of potatoes and turkey Tuesday in Joplin as a local church and a charity opened their doors to any and all.

First Community Church members put on their 38th annual Christmas Day dinner. The church expected to serve more than 800 meals during the day, between home deliveries and in-house dining. David Mason was the co-chairman of this year’s Christmas dinner for the church.

“The preparation for this starts months in advance, and it really kicks into gear the week before,” Mason said. “We started prep work last Friday with the grocery shopping, and then we made what we could over the weekend. Most of the food was prepped this morning by our volunteers, and they will keep cooking throughout the day.”

The preparation area inside the industrial kitchen at the church was lined with volunteers serving up meals for attendees. On a nearby platform, 10 volunteers prepared carryout containers to go throughout the city.

“I’ve got over 50 volunteers out here today to make this happen,” Mason said. “We are going to have 300 meals going out and another 500 people coming through our doors today. It’s a long day, but it’s a rewarding one.”

First Community Church was heavily damaged in the 2011 tornado, and members rededicated their sanctuary in early November. Despite the heavy damage and the high cost of rebuilding, members were undaunted in their drive to make sure the Christmas dinner tradition continued, as it did last year, Mason said.

“We are still running off donations for this dinner, and we aren’t expecting to make money off of this,” Mason said. “We were down after the damage of the tornado, but we rebuilt and we didn’t miss anything. We wanted to be here for the community this time of year, and here we are, bigger and better.”

Joplin resident Anna Ruth Mosbaugh took part in the meal before helping deliver meals during the early afternoon to those unable to go to the church to dine.

“I have met several people today, and seeing the joy in the community is wonderful,” Mosbaugh said. “No one should have to spend Christmas alone, and dinners like this are a great way for people in Joplin to be able to spend time with one another. This is community, and it shows how people can make the holiday special.”

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