On Christmas day, as it has been for more than two decades, hundreds of people in the Greenfield area will have a Christmas meal to enjoy thanks to the continued efforts of local volunteers and the generosity of the community.
Local business owner Eric Zint and his family have been involved with the Christmas meal from St. Benignus Catholic Church in Greenfield since it began in the early 1990s. There are many others, too, who have been there every Christmas Day preparing and delivering the meals in the more than two decades the free Christmas dinner has been made available to those in need, he said. And each year there are new faces, too, showing up to lend a hand.
Last year, Zint said, volunteers served more than 600 meals.
He said that the number of meals served has fallen off some the last few years. Four years ago more than 700 meals were prepared and served.
He said that is likely due to other organizations in the community that have also started serving meals. He said it also could mean that people are doing better and that there is less need.
But there is still a need, he said, and that is why his family and countless other volunteers keep doing this every year. Plus, “it has become a tradition,” he said.
Each year on Christmas Eve, Community Market in Greenfield cooks the turkeys and ham for the dinner, Zint said, and on Christmas Day, volunteers gather in the morning to begin preparing the rest of the menu, which includes mashed potatoes, green beans, rolls, cranberry salad, cole slaw and pie. There is also fruit, courtesy of the Miami Trace FFA.
Because of the immense amount of food prepared, volunteers work out of the kitchen at the Greenfield Eagles and the meals are delivered to homes from there and to the church for pick-up.
Delivery to homes is the most common method by which those in need receive their meals, which are delivered for free to Greenfield and the surrounding area. Meals are also picked up at Saint Benignus Catholic Church, at the educational building located next to the church on Mirabeau Street. People can stop by St. Benignus on Sunday, Dec. 25 between noon and 2 p.m. to pick up their Christmas dinner.
Dinner last year cost just shy of $2,000, Zint said, and that all came from donations from local individuals, businesses and organizations.
To make a donation, or to volunteer, contact Zint at the Corner Health Mart Pharmacy at 937-981-2454. To receive a meal, call the same number and leave a message providing your name, address, phone number and how many meals are needed.
“It really warms the heart,” Zint said of so many coming together every year to prepare a Christmas feast that feeds so many. “It’s the true meaning of Christmas, the people working together and giving their time to help others.”
Reach Angela Shepherd at 937-393-3456, ext. 1681, or on Twitter @wordyshepherd.