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Good tidings: Volunteers serve community Christmas dinner

Courtney Astolfi • Dec 26, 2013 at 9:25 AM

Instead of cozying up by the Christmas tree and doling out presents Wednesday afternoon, a crew of Sandusky do-gooders instead chose to fill the plates and stomachs of community members in need.

   This was the first year Kozetta Pool, Erica Pennix and a myriad of volunteers hosted a Christmas dinner at the Community Action Commission of Erie, Huron and Richland Counties on Seavers Way.

   All told, the group provided 267 holiday dinners for residents without a place to go on Christmas day.

   But sliced ham, scalloped potatoes and steaming vegetables weren’t all that was served up between 1 and 3 p.m. Wednesday — Pool, Pennix, and their team were dishing out holiday cheer as well.

   Christmas greetings echoed around the makeshift dining room as almost 20 volunteers set to their tasks

   — some were servers, some were delivery drivers and a half dozen children contributed by wrapping silverware sets.    In between spoonfuls, volunteers took time out to chat with those they were serving.

   “Excellent, delicious,” one diner said of the spread.

   In addition to those who opted to “dine in” at the Community Action Commission building, many homebound residents benefitted from the event as well. Drivers delivered boxed meals to residents on Venice Road, Columbus Avenue, Franklin Street and everywhere in between.

   When volunteers were making one delivery to the Perry Street high-rise apartments, they came across a Sandusky woman who hadn’t heard about the dinner.

   “She didn’t know if she was even going to eat today,” Pool said.

   Volunteers gave the woman one boxed meal for lunch—and two extras to save for later.

   “She told our delivery person she thought it was a blessing they were there” Pool said.

   Food for the event was donated by volunteers, their relatives and friends, and Kroger and Meijer, Pool said. After finishing the main course of ham, potatoes, rolls, beans and corn, diners were also encouraged to take home festive cookies and cupcakes decorated with reindeer.

   Pool hopes the dinner will become an annual event.

   “I’m very pleased, and a little overwhelmed” Pool said.

   Even so, Pool’s already begun brainstorming ideas for next year’s meal: plans for a new venue, possible carpool options and a higher volume of food could all be on the table for Dec. 25, 2014.

   “It’s about fellowship amongst each other” Pool said. “I just want to make sure people eat”

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