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Hancock Lions serve holiday spirit

December 20, 1997

Hancock Lions serve holiday spirit

By RICHARD F. BELISLE

Staff Writer

HANCOCK - Carol Halterman never tired of adding a cheery "Merry Christmas" with the bun she handed each person who had reached the end of the food line at the American Legion hall Saturday afternoon.

She was one of dozens of volunteers helping to feed about 500 area residents - seniors, the needy, the lonely or anybody who was hungry for a free holiday dinner of turkey and the fixins', said Larry Gerber Jr., past district governor of the Lions and chairman of the dinner.

The third annual community dinner was served from noon to 5 p.m.

"People were lined up outside at 11:45 a.m.," Gerber said.

"We'll feed about 500 people today, about 375 inside and another 125 that we'll either deliver or they'll pick up. We do this every year to give something back to the community," Gerber said.

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About 40 volunteers, including area Girl Scouts, Lions Club members, church groups and residents help to cook, serve and clean up after the meal.

"We cooked 16 25-pound turkeys last night, Gerber said.

The Webster B. Harrison Post 26 donates its facilities for the dinner.

Faye Conley was in the middle of the food line dishing out the succotash. To her left other volunteers served the turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing and the gravy that flowed over them.

"It's nice to see people so happy," Conley said, festive in her bright red sweatshirt emblazoned with a big green Christmas tree as she leaned over the tray of beans and corn.

"I like talking with the people," she said.

A platoon of junior Girl Scouts, all wearing small aprons and each around 9 years old, were gleefully pushing carts of coffee and iced tea or carrying trays of all kinds of sliced cakes. They were taking their responsibilities almost too seriously coming around with their carts and trays every few minutes asking the diners if they were ready for more coffee or tea or ready for dessert.

Lana Reynolds, who turns 9 next week, belongs to Girl Scout Troop 426.

"It's our job to ask the people if they want cake or a drink or if we can take the stuff off the table if they're done," she said.

Among those enjoying dinner were June Bohlman, 68, of Hancock and her first cousin, Clarence Crawford, 82, of Warfordsburg, Pa., a retired farmer who said he's still farming "to keep myself busy."

"We've been coming here every year for the food and for the socializing. We get to see people we haven't seen for a while," Bohlman said.

Over at the next two tables a family tradition was continuing, although this year on a sadder note.

Tammy Starliper of Hagerstown introduced her great aunts and uncles Franklin and Daisy Hart, 85 and 76, respectively, and Harry and Esther Shupp, 79 and 69, all from the Hancock area, and Starliper's sister, Kathie Reed. Another table of relatives were eating at the next table.

Starliper said the family has been gathering for a Christmas dinner at the Legion hall ever since the Lions Club started to serve them.

"My grandmother died in January so I didn't think we'd be coming this year, but my Aunts Daisy and Esther insisted. They said it was a family tradition so here we are."

Among those enjoying dinner were June Bohlman, 68, of Hancock and her first cousin, Clarence Crawford, 82, of Warfordsburg, Pa., a retired farmer who said he's still farming "to keep myself busy."

"We've been coming here every year for the food and for the socializing. We get to see people we haven't seen for a while," Bohlman said.

Over at the next two tables a family tradition was continuing, although this year on a sadder note.

Tammy Starliper of Hagerstown introduced her great aunts and uncles Franklin and Daisy Hart, 85 and 76, respectively, and Harry and Esther Shupp, 79 and 69, all from the Hancock area, and Starliper's sister, Kathie Reed. Another table of relatives were eating at the next table.

Starliper said the family has been gathering for a Christmas dinner at the Legion hall ever since the Lions Club started to serve them.

"My grandmother died in January so I didn't think we'd be coming this year, but my Aunts Daisy and Esther insisted. They said it was a family tradition so here we are."

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