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Volunteers dish out holiday spirit

December 25, 1997

By DON AINES

Staff Writer, Martinsburg

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Lynne Newman had an overflow of something most charitable organizations need more of - volunteers.

On Christmas Day, the Salvation Army's platoon of volunteers served up about 200 meals to the needy, disabled and lonely.

"Normally we serve about 60 meals here on Christmas," Newman said Thursday at the Salvation Army's building at 159 Lincoln Way West, Chambersburg.

More than 50 volunteers served up approximately 150 turkey dinners at the center. Fifty more were delivered to shut-ins and others who couldn't be there for the meal, including people working at Franklin County's 911 center and the state police barracks, along with the Chambersburg Borough Police.

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This was the first year for delivering meals to the needy, Newman said.

For years - Newman wasn't sure how many - the congregation of the Sons of Israel synagogue in Chambersburg has been organizing the Salvation Army feast. Newman has been the supervisor for the past six years.

"We do this because the people who work here are Christians," many of whom would like to spend the holiday at home, Newman said.

"But most of the people who volunteer are Christians and they love it," her husband John added.

"As my husband Jim and I were delivering meals around town, we just found it was more fun giving than getting," said Karen Yates of Chambersburg. She said some of the women they brought meals to put on their finest dresses and jewelry to greet the good samaritans.

The last item on the directions for those delivering the meals was "If you want, you can stay a little and talk ..."

Rather than a soup kitchen-style setting at the Salvation Army, Newman said the volunteers "wait on them as if they were in a restaurant." Five florists donated poinsettias for table settings and a restaurant supply company provided red tablecloths.

Congregation members from the Shippensburg, Pa., Christian Fellowship sang for the guests.

"A family in our church was going to help here and said they were looking for someone to sing," said Edsel Burdge of Shippensburg.

"It's a small congregation, about 30 families," said Fred Wolf, president of the congregation of the Sons of Israel, as he washed dishes. He said about 10 people volunteered to work this year.

"Fred always washes the dishes and he doesn't do that at home, ever," his wife Rhona said.

"We just come and follow instructions. All the aggravation is Lynne's," Fred Wolf said.

Newman said she got there about 7 a.m., putting in the second round of the 11 turkeys that would be served, some of which cooked slowly overnight. She also made stuffing for 200 people.

"Several people were raving about your stuffing," Theresa Brennan of Fayetteville, Pa., told Lynne Newman.

Brennan said this was her first year as a volunteer because "no one's at home this year. It's something to do and to help other people."

Clutching a loaf of bread and a sprig of holly, Suzanne Gilliodde-Blumenthal of Chambersburg enjoyed the outing, talking with another guest about her years as a French teacher.

Marlin Horn, a Chambersburg resident, said he comes to the Salvation Army daily for meals. He has family in the area, but "I don't get to see them like I ought to."

This year Christmas fell in the middle of Hanukkah, a holiday celebrating an ancient Jewish victory over Syria, but that didn't bother the Newmans.

"It is, in comparison to other Jewish holidays, a minor holiday. Because of its proximity to Christmas, in this country it's become a monumental holiday," Lynne Newman said.

"It's more akin to the Fourth of July," said John Newman.

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