By Nammi Bhagvandoss
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.”
The Christmas Dinner for Others served 435 people in 2005. It is scheduled for 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday at First Community Church, 15th Street and Murphy Boulevard.
Those who want a meal delivered may call the church before 4 p.m. Saturday at (417) 781-7535.
Others also will be preparing Christmas meals.
n The Salvation Army of Joplin will serve a Christmas meal of ham, mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing, cranberry sauce, green beans and pumpkin pie at noon Monday at 320 E. Eighth St., according to Leslie Grissom, kitchen manager.
Entertainment will be provided.
The corps had 150 volunteers at Thanksgiving to help serve 300 people.
“We want them to feel like a family, and everyone is welcome to come,” Grissom said.
Volunteers may arrive after 10 a.m. Monday, when tables will be set up, she said.
“If we don’t have a job, they’ll sing songs and have fun,” she said.
Monetary donations also are being accepted.
Details: (417) 624-4528.
n Souls Harbor of America will have a Christmas brunch beginning at 8:30 a.m. Monday at 915 S. Main St. in Joplin.
A Thanksgiving Day brunch worked so well that organizers decided to have a Christmas brunch, said Joan Lewis, director.
“So many had plans for dinner,” she said. “They enjoyed having the brunch, and it gave staff an opportunity to be with their friends or family.”
Members of Our Father’s House church at 13th Street and Picher Avenue in Joplin will provide gifts and food.
Members of the Christian Motorcycle Association will help prepare and serve food. Members of the Forest Park Friends Class also will help out during the brunch.
“There were 50 some people who came for Thanksgiving (brunch), and we may have 50-plus for Christmas,” Lewis said.
The organization is giving out $30 gift cards to children who have registered, and 230 children will get gifts because they did not register for the gift cards.
“As far as our pantry is concerned, we give out food on a daily basis,” Lewis said.
Details: (417) 623-7929.
n Lamar United Methodist Church will serve a Christmas meal between 11:30 a.m. and noon Monday, and deliveries will be made from 10:30 to 11 a.m. Monday, according to Rena Crisp, church secretary.
Those who will be participating in the dinner are asked to call the church by 4 p.m. Thursday.
“It’s open to anyone and everyone in the community,” Crisp said. “We already have a request for 16 dinners from a nursing home. ... We normally serve up to 200.”
Seventy-five people had made reservations by Monday afternoon.
“We also deliver to people who have to work at convenience stores,” Crisp said. “We’ll check with the Sheriff’s Department and Fire Department.”
Crisp said organizers want to serve those who will be working.
“It’s advertised in senior and low-income housing units,” she said.
Details: (417) 682-3306.
n The Neosho Recreation Center will offer a meal from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday.
Brenda McGilvray will coordinate the meal, which will include turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, dressing, cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes and homemade bread.
“I have two ladies who’ll be making a lot of this,” she said. “This is my fourth year to coordinate the dinner. I’m pretty much the head cook.”
The Christmas meal is prepared with the help of donations. The Hunte Corp. of Goodman donated hams and turkeys, McGilvray said.
“We could use a little bit more money,” she said.
Volunteers also are needed to help clean up.
“We’ll have Santa Claus and music,” she said.
About 200 people were served at last year’s meal, and organizers are expecting possibly 300 this year.
“It’s been growing,” McGilvray said. “It’s been growing each year.”
Those who would like a meal delivered may call the Neosho Recreation Center by noon Friday.
Details: (417) 451-8090.
n The Carthage Day Family Dinner will be served from 2 to 4 p.m. Monday at the First United Methodist Church Fellowship Hall.
Food, music and fellowship are planned. Anyone who wants to volunteer may call Marilyn Bisbee at (417) 358-3533.
Those in need of transportation or who want a meal delivered may call that number through Sunday.
The dinner is sponsored by the Carthage Crisis Center, with assistance from McCune-Brooks Hospital, Covenant World Outreach Church and Convenient Store Services.
A free dinner will be offered at 1 p.m. Christmas Day at the Moose Lodge, 5056 Douglas Fir Road. The dinner is open to anyone, but reservations are encouraged because space is limited. Details: (417) 781-8753.
By Nammi Bhagvandoss
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