HAGERSTOWN — Mary and Marvin Metz attended the free Christmas dinner Saturday at LifeHouse Church Bethel in Hagerstown to save a little money.
The husband and wife said they fell on hard times recently since Mary was diagnosed with bone cancer, and Marvin with a bad heart.
“I’d feel like a million dollars if I didn’t have to take medicine,” Mary said. “Meals like this help save money. They treat you like you’re somebody here.”
Bethel Associate Pastor David Rodriguez said the event began 10 years ago to feed the hungry.
“This dinner is held to touch lives in the community,” Rodriguez said. “As long as they come in, we’re going to feed them.”
On Saturday, about 250 dinners were served in the church’s gymnasium at 515 E. Wilson Blvd. Rodriguez said volunteers delivered an additional 220 meals to people who couldn’t leave their homes.
The meal, which included ham, turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, was available to anyone who wanted to eat.
“It was delicious,” Hagerstown resident Rick Jarreau said. “Everything was good. I give them five stars.”
Jarreau said he attended the dinner because he was low on money and his family lives in Louisiana.
“I’ll probably go to see them when I get my income taxes back,” he said.
The meal couldn’t have been held without the assistance of sponsors who donated a majority of the food, Rodriguez said.
He added that volunteers, like the Cardwell family of Smithsburg, were a big help as well.
“Some families just get used to getting up and going under the tree,” said Jacquetta Cardwell, who helped serve food with seven members of her family. “We just wanted to give back to the community and see people from different religions coming together.”
Jacquetta’s brother, Leon, and sister, Jacquisha, said they took time off from their college breaks to help on the serving line.
“It’s different for me than the ordinary Christmas,” said Leon, who is a sophomore at Hampton University. “It feels so good to give other than gifts to your family.”
Jacquisha, a senior at the University of Maryland, said college has raised her awareness to the importance of helping others.
“It’s really nice,” she said. “Being able to come home and affect change is really great.”