Church Serves up Christmas Day Dinner

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SALEM TOWNSHIP - This Christmas, the folks at one church in Wayne County have done it again.

They served up dozens of meals to people, all in an effort to carry out the true meaning of the holiday.

The smells of Christmas hung in the air inside the Centenary United Methodist Church near Hamlin. Christmas meals by the dozens were dished out.

Beverly Gregory of Bethany joined her 94-year-old mother, happy to spend the holiday with family eating a hearty, free meal.

"I come out because she lives in Hamlin. They tell me I'm invited, too, so I come from Bethany," said Gregory.

"It's our way of giving back to the community. It's what Christmas is all about, and we enjoy doing it," said Jen Hildebrand of the Centenary United Methodist Church.

Volunteers spent hours preparing all the food and welcomed anyone with an appetite to enjoy in the meals. And, if they needed, takeouts and deliveries went out for folks at home.

"We have to set up a lot, get food ready, peel the potatoes, then we serve them. And, that's it. It's rewarding? Yes, it's fun," said Ezra Tetreault, who volunteered his time at the dinner.

Every year in Hamlin, the United Methodist Church brings people together. More than 120 came last year. This year, they were shooting for more than 200 folks to come in and enjoy a Christmas meal.

"Even though we have each other, it's always nice to know there's very kind people around," said Thomas Colucci of Hamlin.

The meal was delicious enough for Cadence Habenstrite, all smiles on this Christmas day and happy to spend it with family and food.

"I think it'd be nice and delicious and good for my tummy," she said.