About 100 attend Williamsport Christmas dinner for struggling families

Washington Co. deputy started organizing the event in September

December 22, 2011|By DAVE McMILLION |

WILLIAMSPORT — About 40 people in need of help this holiday season, including some households coping with unemployment, were invited to a special Christmas dinner Thursday night.

 The dinner, held at the community center in Byron Memorial Park, was organized by Deputy 1st Class Carl Witmer of the Washington County Sheriff's Office.

Witmer, whose wife, Bev, helped on the project, said DOT Foods donated all the food for the dinner, which included turkey, ham, green beans, mashed potatoes, gravy, rolls, iced tea, lemonade and cake.

Leiters' Fine Catering Inc. prepared the food and delivered it, Witmer said.

In addition to the dinner, 15 sponsors bought toys or clothing for children in the families helped through the effort, Witmer said. Heads of households were also given gifts, he said.

The sponsors, which included businesses and individuals, were given sizes for the children if they wanted to buy them clothes, Witmer said.

Witmer, who is responsible for police protection in Williamsport, said the school system and officials at Town Hall helped him pick out the families that would receive help. He started work on the project in late September.

At the 6 p.m. dinner, gifts were strewn under a Christmas tree, and volunteers were preparing to serve the meal. Dozens of pieces of sliced cake were laid out on a table.

Counting volunteers, sponsors and family members who came to the dinner, about 100 attended the event, Witmer said.

Among the guests were Michael and Casey Gross and their daughters, Bryanna, 11, and Alexis, 8.

Casey Goss said she had been laid off from her child-care job.

"We're very thankful," Michael Goss said of the dinner.

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