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Christmas meal will serve hundreds

December 22, 2008|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. -- For most people, Christmas is about home and family, but for those in Franklin County who lack one or both, there is The Salvation Army and the Congregation Sons of Israel.

For about two decades, the synagogue's members and other volunteers have taken over The Salvation Army's kitchen on Christmas Day, serving and delivering meals to hundreds of people.

"I truly, truly believe the worst thing is to be alone on Christmas or any holiday," said Lynne Newman, who has been involved in the event for 16 years. "It's not our holiday, but it's a holiday."

About 100 volunteers, including many Christians, will be preparing the dinner that will be served from noon to 2 p.m., Newman said. Last year, about 450 people were served, either at The Salvation Army headquarters at 159 Lincoln Way West or in their homes, she said.

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Newman said Meals on Wheels has a list of about 50 people who need meals Thursday, and she has received 25 or more calls to have meals delivered. Anyone in the county needing a home-delivered meal on Christmas can call her by Wednesday at 717-263-2151, she said.

For many shut-ins, the visit they get Thursday will be their Christmas, Newman said.

Volunteers delivering the meals will, in most cases, be delivering to three homes in close proximity to each other, Newman said.

"I want the people who deliver the meals to be able to take some time and talk with the people," she said. "I don't want them to have a Christmas past. I want them to have a Christmas present."

The senior citizens also receive a gift, Newman said. Presents or donations of food for The Salvation Army still can be dropped off at the headquarters, she said.

As for the meal at The Salvation Army, Newman said volunteers will make it as much like a holiday meal as possible. Guests will be served at their tables rather than going through a line and will choose from a dessert tray. Volunteers will offer refills of their drinks.

Greenery, poinsettias and other decorations are courtesy of Green Arbor Flowers & Gifts in Waynesboro, Pa., and Fusting Florist, Plasterer's Florist & Greenhouses and Snoke's Florist & Greenhouses in Chambersburg, Newman said.

Volunteers will be wrapping gifts beginning about 8:30 a.m. Christmas Day, and those serving and delivering the meals have to be there at 10 a.m., she said.

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