The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

December 19, 2006

Volunteers help prepare annual Christmas meals

By Nammi Bhagvandoss

nbhagvandoss@joplinglobe.com

An ice storm that damaged Dee Dannelley’s business three weeks ago didn’t crush his Christmas spirit.

Instead, he’s helping prepare food for First Community Church’s Christmas Dinner for Others.

Mary Ann Edwards, who has been among the organizers of the dinner with her husband, Galen, remembers Dannelley calling and saying: “Patsy and I are unemployed right now. Can you use our help?”

“It was an answer to our prayers,” she said. Galen Edwards is scheduled for surgery after Christmas.

Although part of his business, the Butcher’s Block Banquet Center, needs to be torn down and part needs to be stabilized, Dannelley offered to cook the turkeys and hams for the dinner when he learned that Galen Edwards was ill and could not participate in this year’s dinner.

“It’s a hard job to do, but we know how to do it,” Dannelley said, referring to himself and his wife, Patsy. “We’ve done lots of events for 400 to upward of 1,000 people.”

Dannelley is preparing to cook 13 to 14 turkeys, each of around 22 pounds, and five 20-pound hams.

“I’ll be doing the turkey and dressing, and making sure the setup is properly done,” he said.

The Edwards’ daughter, Susie Edwards, of Overland Park, Kan., is taking a week off work to help.

“She’s been working it for a lot of years,” Mary Ann Edwards said.

David Mason, of First Community Church, is taking off two days to help the Dannelleys prepare turkeys and hams for the 33rd annual Christmas Dinner for Others.

Members of the church and their families have signed up to bring in pies and cook mashed potatoes.

“People of the church will do the rest of it,” Mary Ann Edwards said. “Out of the kindness of their hearts they’re helping us, and we think it’s wonderful.”

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