SCRANTON -- It takes a village to feed thousands of people and host an all-day buffet on Christmas; a village that Bob Bolus has rounded-up for 24 years.
At St. Patrick's Church on Jackson Street in Scranton, Bolus hosted his annual Christmas Dinner. It featured more than just turkey and stuffing, but an atmosphere that was truly festive.
"When you see out here, and the people here and the way we decorate the place. This is Christmas," Bolus said.
Bolus does not say how much he spends on the annual Christmas dinner. He also has no idea how many volunteers help out. He just knows more and more keep showing up each year.
"I met Bob 15 years ago, and he said he has this dinner, I came the first year and it was the most rewarding thing I ever did and I've been coming ever since," Les Spindler of Scranton said.
"I think a lot of people look forward to it, a lot of people get a nice dinner and people to visit with who would normally be alone, Russell Howard of Taylor said. Howard's favorite part every year is seeing friends he only sees once or twice a year. This dinner helps make that happen.
This year, Bolus had one request: for families who wanted the meals "to-go," he asked that they stay and eat at least one course at St. Patrick's, together.
"That's the most important part that I believe in the takeout, is when you go home, later on tonight, you'll remember all this when you warm that meal up," Bolus said.
Bolus says there are no rules really; you can go through the buffet line as many times as you want, but to at least sit down for a little while with friends and family.
"Later on in the evening, these people here will remember the old friends, the new friends but more importantly they shared in the spirit of Christmas. That's what it's all about. That's why we call it Merry Christmas, it's merry here, that's the way I look at it," Bolus said.
New this year, Bolus invited first responders to the dinner, too.