The first Community Christmas Day Dinner in Delmar was held 20 years ago in December when First United Methodist Church parishioners Vincent and Sally Gazzetta offered fellowship along with a hearty holiday meal for residents in need.
They contacted other local churches, civic leaders and the Town of Bethlehem Senior Services Department to make the dinner a reality.
On Tuesday, Dec. 25, the 20th annual Community Christmas Day Dinner will take place from 1:30 to 4 p.m. at the First United Methodist Church, 428 Kenwood Ave.
It's really a celebration of Christmas, love and joy in the community, said Arthur Copeland, dinner committee chair.
Ten area churches and more than 20 different community businesses and organizations participate in the annual event that offers a full menu that starts with a shrimp platter and continues with turkey and ham and all the trimmings.
"About 150 meals are served each year and we do deliver to people who can't make it to the church," said Joyce Becker, assistant director of Bethlehem Senior Services.
Committee members and chefs Bill Pearce and Bernie Smith prepare the holiday feast. The culinary department of the Glenmont Job Corps prepares the turkey and stuffing.
"There are probably about 40 volunteers, but that number grows because so many people volunteer items and many different churches contribute certain parts of the Christmas dinner," said Copeland.
The meal ends later in the afternoon with homemade pies and cakes along with a visit from Santa.
"Santa goes around during dessert with goodies, and stops off at each table taking a picture with the kids," said Copeland.
The turkey and ham dinner will be served at 2 p.m. Bethlehem Senior Services will provide transportation for town residents older than 60.
"It makes Christmas very special for not only the people who come for dinner but all of the people who help," said Becker, who has participated in the event since its inception.
To make dinner reservations or arrange for transportation, contact Senior Services at 439-4955, ext. 1176. There is no charge for the dinner, but an offering is accepted. Monetary donations can also be made by calling Senior Services.""