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Restaurant owner wants to give something back

December 21, 1999

Editor's note: For these 12 days before Christmas we will be recognizing individuals and groups who make the holidays better for others. This is the 10th in a series.

By RICHARD F. BELISLE / Staff Writer, Waynesboro

Photo by Kevin G. Gilbert / Staff Photographer




BLUE RIDGE SUMMIT, Pa. - When it comes to lending a helping hand at Christmas, Mike Pryor takes a back seat to no one.

This year, for the 16th year in a row, Pryor will either serve or deliver more than 500 free holiday dinners to anyone who needs one or wants one. Those wishing to partake can walk into his Mike and Travis' Mountain Shadows Restaurant on Pa. 16 in Blue Ridge Summit between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Christmas day or call and have dinner delivered by a volunteer driver.

cont. from front page

Not wanting to miss anyone at Christmas, Pryor, 46, started an annual Toys for Tots Christmas Party last year at American Legion Post 239 at 14418 MacFee Hill Road in Cascade, Md.

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This year's party was held on Dec. 4. It always brings in around 400 toys, which are turned over to the Rotary Club of Waynesboro, Pa., for distribution to needy youngsters in the area.

The party includes a meal, snacks and entertainment. This year's entertainment was provided by Narvel Felts, a 1950s rock 'n' roll artist who was brought back for the second time by popular demand, Pryor said.

Pryor and his volunteers sell ads in a program to defray the cost of the food and entertainment for the party.

Every Christmas day, eight or nine people show up at his restaurant to volunteer part of their own holiday to deliver free traditional Christmas dinners to shut-ins.

"I don't even know all their names. They just show up," Pryor said.

He said about one-third of the more than 500 free dinners he and his restaurant employees prepare are delivered. The rest are served to people who come in the door.

"Many are elderly people who have no one or no place to go for Christmas. They often get a chance to see people they haven't seen in a long time," he said. "Whole families come in too."

Restaurant employees volunteer their time to cook the six, 28-pound turkeys and four hams that they serve each year. Regular holiday fixings go with the meals, Pryor said.

Pryor said he organizes both events to "give something back to the community."

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