Peace Lutheran Church will host Manhattan’s only free Christmas community dinner starting at noon Tuesday.
“We have 200 pounds of meat,” Pastor Michael Ide said. “We started out hoping to feed at least 200 people but now we can feed more than that.”
Peace Lutheran Church will provide members of the community with a free meal, which includes turkey, ham, potatoes, gravy, dressing, fruit salads, rolls, cakes and pies along with several kinds of drinks.
“We realized while serving Thanksgiving dinner at Old Chicago that many people were alone, hungry or needed somewhere to go this Christmas,” said Peace Lutheran Church member Patti Ballowe, who started this year’s free holiday dinner.
Since November, many local businesses and organizations have gotten on board with donations of many shapes and sizes. Hy-vee donated 150 pounds of discounted hams and turkeys; McAlister’s Deli, potatoes, breads and cookies; Little Apple Brewery, 50 to 100 pounds of potatoes, Local Food and Friends Restaurant offered to cook the turkeys and hams; and Thrivent Financial for Lutherans gave monetary donations and gift bags. Radina’s, The Flint Hills Breadbasket and Dillons also contributed to the meal. The Sisters of Sound Music of Aggieville will supply recorded music in the fellowship hall between noon and 2 p.m. Live music and a movie will also take place in the sanctuary during that time.
Clergy of several denominations promoted the dinner during this weekend’s church services.
Ide estimates the church has between 70 and 80 volunteers who will come in starting at 5 a.m. to start heating dishes for the dinner.
“We’re not turning anyone away who wants to help,” Ballowe said. “If they want to give their time, we’ll find something for them to do.”
People who attend the dinner will have the opportunity to take home leftovers. Any remaining food after that will be donated to the Manhattan Emergency Shelter.
“Anyone can come, anyone who can’t afford a meal or would be alone at Christmas; we want them to come, eat and visit,” said Ide.
For more information call Peace Lutheran Church, 2500 Kimball Ave., in Manhattan at (785)539-7371.