SCRANTON -- There was dancing. There was picture taking. And of course, there was eating, just a few of the reasons people love attending the annual Friends of the Poor Holiday Dinner at Saint Mary's Center on Mifflin Avenue in Scranton.
Rosemary Palumbo of Scranton said she comes to the dinner for two reasons: "Friends. My friends and the food."
Stuffed chicken was on the menu along with veggies, salad and dessert.
About 500 people in need enjoyed the meal, paid for by Friends of the Poor.
They even got meals to take home.
Along with the food, holiday entertainment made the event even more festive. Local students sang and performed a Christmas play.
Mary Elizabeth Kishbaugh, fifth grader from Holy Rosary School says performing puts her in a holiday mood, too.
"Making them happy and actually helping people," said Kishbaugh.
Organizers say in this tough economy this dinner is more important than ever, to feed the needy and to lift spirits.
"We're so happy we can share hospitality and a meal together because people really need to take a break. It is really hard. We see the increase in our office every day," said Sister Ann Walsh, the Director of Friends of the Poor.
The efforts of the volunteers don't go unnoticed.
Frank Dartt of Scranton enjoyed the meal.
"I'd like to thank them. Thank them for their service. It's very nice."
More holiday events are coming up for the folks at Friends of the Poor.
A toy, clothing, and coat giveaway is set for December 18 and 19.
On December 20, registered families will receive food baskets from Friends of the Poor.
Those baskets are filled with goodies for a home-cooked holiday meal.