The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

December 12, 2013

Volunteers needed to assist with Community Christmas Dinner

By Shannon Beamon, Staff Writer

Thursday, December 12, 2013 — While for most people Christmas is a time for feasting, family and friends, for others it can be a reminder of what is missing.

“There are older people who are alone or families who don’t have money to celebrate at Christmas,” said Susan Simon, an organizer for the Community Christmas Dinner in Albemarle.

For 24 years, six churches in downtown Albemarle have teamed up to host a free community dinner on Christmas for those who are in need.

This year they could use a little help.

“We still need volunteers. We need help all day really,” Simon said.

The dinner will be from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Dec. 25 at the Stanly County Senior Center on Third Street in Albemarle. However, volunteers will be needed both before and after the event as well.

From 9-11 a.m. volunteers are needed to set up and prepare food. From 11 a.m.-2 p.m. they are needed to serve, clean up tables and work the take-out line. From 2-4 p.m. they are needed to clean up.

“It’s just a wonderful way to serve people in need on the actual Christmas day,” Simon said.

“And really it’s a great way to get to know people in the community, too.”

She said there are several families who have made it a Christmas tradition to come out for a couple of hours to help with the dinner.

“My daughter, my sister and I have been doing it for years,” she said.

“It’s almost a fellowship event, people come and help out or just hang out. It’s a nice time when you get to work with great people and help others, too.”

Last year, volunteers  served more than 1,200 dinners at the event.

“Although we lost count after a while,” Simon said.

“It’s a pretty large crowd.”

In the past, churches such as First Lutheran and First Baptist have had the event in their fellowship halls, but Annunciation Catholic Church, who is the host church this year, does not have large enough facilities to handle that many people.

“That’s why it’s at the senior center this year,” Simon said.

Despite the change in venue, Annunciation Catholic Church will prepare for just as many, if not more, people.

“We’ll prepare anywhere from 1,200 to 1,400 meals,” she said.

The dinner is open to any community resident as either a sit-down or take-home meal.

“We’ll also have gift bags for the kids, with a toy, some candy and an apple and orange apiece,” Simon said.

If anyone would like to help out with the event, Simon can be reached at (704) 467-3072.

“If you have a certain area you want to help out with or specific hours you want to do, just let me know and we’ll work it out,” she said.

To submit story ideas, contact Shannon Beamon at (704) 982-2121 ext. 24 or at