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Dinner reaches out in city

December 25, 2000

Dinner reaches out in city



By ANDREW SCHOTZ / Staff Writer


Some of the Christmas diners at Bethel Assembly of God Church in Hagerstown were kings for a day.

Others were shepherds or Joseph or Mary.

"We dressed them up in costumes ... and made a nativity scene," said Kathy Horst, who helped organize the church's third annual Christmas Day of free food and fellowship.

Her husband, Clarence Horst, ferried people in a van to the church from local shelters and from Elizabeth Court and Walnut Towers.

He said passengers were excited and eager when he arrived to get them, happy to have love and attention.

"It's for everybody who doesn't have any family or who's lonely," said Ed Kennedy, another organizer. "There's no restrictions."

Kathy Horst said at least one volunteer sat and talked to each person that came in. "The fellowship, I think, was the best part," she said. "They feel like somebody took the time for them."

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If she wasn't eating turkey and sweet potatoes at Bethel Assembly, Edna Daugherty would have been home at Holly Place, a Hagerstown senior citizen center.

Daugherty, 91, sang along to "Silent Night" and other holiday songs.

She said cheerily of her meal, "Everything was good." For dessert, she splurged on apple pie, pumpkin pie and chocolate cake.

"Thank goodness it wasn't night time," or the rich meal would have kept her from sleeping, said Daugherty, who had a foil-covered take-home plate of goodies in front of her.

While she spoke, several volunteers were loading up Styrofoam containers with meat, potatoes and vegetables. The packages were headed for the Religious Effort to Assist and Care for the Homeless (REACH) Cold Weather Shelter and for the Citizens Assisting and Sheltering the Abused (CASA) shelter.

At another table, kids used paint, glue and glitter to make ornaments.

The 30 or 40 people who came left with some extra food and Gospel stocking stuffers, either books or Bibles.

Bethel's community outreach meal showed that "church is not just cold and sterile," Clarence Horst said, "but is made up of real people."

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