The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

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December 23, 2012

Community Christmas dinners planned

JOPLIN, Mo. — Organizers are looking for big turnouts at annual community Christmas Day meals.

Churches and other groups will welcome residents in Joplin and area towns for traditional holiday fare on Tuesday. The goal of the meals, planners say, is to make sure no one goes without food or companionship on the holiday. Details about some of the meals are as follows.

JOPLIN

This year’s event will be the 38th annual Christmas dinner at First Community Church, 2007 E. 15th St. The meal will be served from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Planners are expecting about 800 people to be served this year, including those eating at the church, and meals carried out or delivered to homes by volunteers.

“That’s about what we had last year,” said Jim Everitt, who is the primary cook for the gathering.

He said Dave Mason heads the planning committee, which includes about 50 people from within and outside the church. Some pies are made by the Franklin Technology Center culinary class.

Everitt called the meal “a service we want to give to the community” and said volunteers will deliver meals to homes of people who can’t make it to the church. Those who want to arrange for carryout or home-delivered meals should call the church at 781-1800 by noon today.

The Joplin Salvation Army at 320 E. Eighth St. will serve Christmas dinner starting at 11 a.m.

About 500 people are expected for the meal, said Lt. Jamie Curry.

“We had 700 for Thanksgiving, and we don’t think it will be that many,” she said. “We serve meals every day of the week.”

The dinner is open to anyone, and volunteers also are needed to help with serving meals and taking them to people asking for home-delivered meals. Those who want to volunteer may sign up on the Salvation Army website at www.ringbells.org.

As in past years, a Christmas Day brunch will start at 8:30 a.m. at Souls Harbor, 915 S. Main St.

CARTHAGE

In Carthage, the seventh annual Christmas Day family dinner will be served from noon to 2 p.m. at the Carthage Crisis Center at 100 Main St.

The meal is open to anyone “who needs a place to celebrate Christmas,” said Brian Bisbee, center director.

Those who need transportation to the meal or who want a meal delivered to their home may call the center at 358-3533. Residents who want to volunteer to help at the meal or make contributions may call Marilyn Bisbee at the same number.

PITTSBURG, KAN.

In Pittsburg, a Christmas dinner will be served from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Presbyterian Church, 520 N. Pine St.

Organizers are planning for more than 700 people, said Debra Bevins, with the church.

Anyone in the Pittsburg area who would like a home-delivered meal or a meal for carryout should call the church at 620-231-2920. Volunteers also would be welcomed and may call the same number, Bevins said.

FAIRVIEW

New to the Christmas dinner mix this year is Fairview, where a meal will be served starting at 12:30 p.m. at John Q. Hammons Community Center.

City Clerk Lorie Heatley and Della Cline are preparing the traditional dinner.

“I felt like it was something that needed to be done,” Heatley said. “We have a lot of older people who don’t have family coming in. Anybody that doesn’t have any plans is welcome to come here.”

Though they have received some donations, Heatley said the two women expect to serve between 50 and 75 people and are footing most of the bill for the meal.

Those who want to help may contact Heatley at Fairview City Hall, 632-4318.

In addition to the meal, those who attend the Fairview Christmas dinner will “receive a little treat sack” before they leave, Heatley said.

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