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Nick offers 12th holiday dinner at Sheraton

December 11, 1998

Nick GiannarisBy LAURA ERNDE / Staff Writer

photo: YVETTE MAY / staff photographer




If you live in Washington County and have no holiday plans, consider yourself invited to "Christmas with Nick."

For the 12th year, Nick Giannaris and George Turner are hosting a free Christmas feast at the Sheraton Four Points Hotel.

"We'd like all the people to come. Whoever's alone, whoever's in need," Giannaris said Thursday.

Turner Taxi will provide free transportation to those without a ride to the dinner, set for 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Giannaris' hotel on Dual Highway in Hagerstown.

The Christmas tradition lives on, they said.

"We hope to continue another 12 years," he said.

Last year, volunteers cooked 48 turkeys, probably as many hams, along with all the trimmings, such as mashed potatoes, stuffing, succotash, soup, salad and desserts.

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About 1,400 people ate last year. Four hundred meals were delivered to people's homes.

When Giannaris found out that the man who normally plays Santa Claus wouldn't be able to make it this year, he considered dressing up himself.

"No. I have to cook," he said. "It's so much fun having people coming in. I make the gravy and I make the soup."

Reservations are requested, but not required. They may be made by calling the Community Action Council weekdays between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., at 301-797-4161. On weekends and evenings, reservations may be made by calling Turner Taxi at 301-733-7788.

Volunteers can register with Cathy Lewis at the Sheraton, 301-790-3010, or just show up Christmas Day.

When volunteers come once, they often keep coming year after year, said Ed Lough, volunteer coordinator.

"This is the greatest day of the year in my life," he said.

Local businesses have donated food and toys.

Organizers still need toys, especially games and stuffed animals, to give to the children, said volunteer Jim Tirpok.

Children get to pick smaller toys from a table and Santa Claus will give out the bigger toys. If the toys are wrapped, organizers need to know the age and gender for which the toy would be appropriate.

Those wishing to donate toys may contact Lewis at the Sheraton at 301-790-3010. Organizers will pick up toys for businesses wishing to make donations.

"We won't let any toy sit unwanted," Tirpok said.

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