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Door is open for all at Christmas dinner in Chambersburg

December 24, 2007|By JENNIFER FITCH

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - The people who attend Lynne Newman's synagogue don't celebrate Christmas, but for two decades they've given their time to ensure others are able to enjoy the holiday.

The Congregation Sons of Israel started its Christmas meal as a way to free up time for the regular workers at The Salvation Army in Chambersburg, Newman said.

She said the effort has "grown exponentially," considering that the volunteers now serve hundreds at the Salvation Army and deliver 100 additional meals to shut-ins, senior citizens, the 911 center and police.

"We get a good number of Christians who come in to help. ... To them, it's a great way to celebrate Christmas because they're giving," Newman said.

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Food will be served from approximately noon to 2 p.m. at The Salvation Army near the Franklin Fire Co. on U.S. 30 west of Chambersburg's Memorial Square.

"Come whenever you can," Newman said. "There'll be a meal for you and a present."

Deliveries are made to clients of Meals on Wheels, as well as to those who request them, Newman said.

A chef at The Salvation Army said this year's Thanksgiving meal set a record for the number served, prompting Newman to ponder whether she needs more than the 20 turkeys, as planned. Some of those turkeys will be put in the oven tonight, but most will begin cooking at 6 a.m. Tuesday.

"Last year, we served 350," she said.

In addition to turkey, the menu includes sweet potato casserole, stuffing, mashed potatoes, green beans, corn and cranberry sauce.

Meals are served at the table, and desserts are presented by children carrying trays of selections.

"Because I really believe it's important for kids to see how to serve others, we came up with jobs for them. The littlest kids get to put the whipped cream on top," Newman said.

Newman, who oversees the dinner's organization, went to various stores Sunday evening to buy presents to be distributed with the meals. She remembers one woman calling to say that the slippers delivered with her food were the only present she received that year.

Volunteers or people with presents to donate may call Newman at 717-263-2151.

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