St. Benignus Catholic Church in Greenfield will provide free Christmas dinners to anyone in the Greenfield School District in need of them on Christmas Day.
The church has been doling out the holidays meals every Christmas since the early ‘90s, and church member Eric Zint, president of Greenfield’s Corner Health Mart Pharmacy, has helped provide the feasts for nearly all of those years.
The meals, purchased through Community Market in Greenfield, consist of ham, turkey, green beans, mashed potatoes, rolls, cranberry salad, fresh fruit and pie.
“The ladies at the deli cook and separate the meat from the turkeys for us, and we purchased 350 pounds of turkey,” said Zint. “They cook the ham for us and slice it, and we do 170 pounds of ham. Our goal is to have enough food for 700 meals.”
Zint said some of the work is done before Christmas, and anywhere from 30 to 50 church members and other volunteers will be on hand on Christmas to prepare and deliver the celebratory dinners.
The meal preparation will begin at the Greenfield Eagles at around 8 a.m. “It takes us about three hours to get everything to a point that we are ready to start building meals,” said Zint.
The fully prepared and packed meals will be available at the church from 12 noon to 2 p.m. Christmas Day. Most of the meals, however, will be delivered at no cost.
“If we fix 700 meals about 150 of those are picked up at the church, but the rest are delivered, and we offer free delivery basically anywhere in the Greenfield area including places like South Salem and Greensboro, so we cover a pretty big area,” said Zint.
Each delivery driver brings between 30 to 60 meals per trip, and orders can be placed by calling Corner Pharmacy at 937-981-2454.
“When you deliver it’s nice to have the interaction with the community, and it’s nice to know you’re bringing really nice meals to families,” said Zint. “Normally when you deliver the meals, you can see the families have already gone through their gifts, and they’re doing fun holiday stuff, so it’s great to see that and help.”
Last year about $2,600 was spent to provide the Christmas meals, and Zint expects the figure will be similar this year.
“It’s all donation based, and we have a lot of businesses and individuals who contribute money to making this work, and it’s been that way for years,” said Zint. “We get donations through the church and from businesses, and some families donate every year.
Those interested in donating to the program can contact Zint at the pharmacy.
He is also still welcoming volunteers for this year’s Christmas. “We can always use volunteers, and really the most important help is to get the food going first thing in the morning and having as many delivery drivers as we can,” he said. “The more delivery drivers we have the faster we can get that food out to the families. Honestly, we can put together 700 meals in probably an hour.”
Reach John Hackley at 9370-402-2571.