It already feels like Christmas to Columbus’ Trish Meier.
She’s been touched by people who want to help her with the annual, free community Christmas meal at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church.
“The outpouring has been phenomenal,” said Meier, coordinator of the event.
This year’s meal will be served noon to 2 p.m. Christmas Day. Last year, dozens of volunteers lent a hand to help.
St. Peter’s, in conjunction with Lincoln-Central Neighborhood Family Center, serve ham, turkey and all the trimmings to 500 people.
Diane Doup, community outreach coordinator for the center, said about half the meals were served on site, while the rest were carryout.
This year’s meal also will aim to feed the soul. The church praise and worship band will play Christmas music in the gym, which is near the cafeteria, where the meal will be served.
Children’s activities will not be a part of this year’s dinner. Meier said few children participated in a story time, and the scheduled music probably would interfere with that, anyway.
Last year marked the first time since the event’s inception in 2001 that volunteers did not deliver meals to people’s homes. Doup and Meier said people accepted the change, which saved on volunteers’ time and effort.
“If people know of someone by themselves that day or someone in need of a meal, we encourage them to take one to them,” Meier said.
One other change is the meal will consist of ham rather than both ham and turkey. Meier said she recently purchased 158 pounds of pre-sliced ham, which is easier for volunteers to prepare than turkey.
Besides church and community volunteers, Meier will get plenty of assistance from home. Her husband, Shane, and their children — Nolan, 14, Mickey, 8, and Gabbie, 6 — also are volunteering, just as they did last year. On a recent shopping trip to the grocery store to purchase meal supplies, they helped load and unload hams.
Share holiday fellowship
WHAT: Annual, free community Christmas meal, provided by St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in cooperation with Lincoln-Central Neighborhood Family Center and with financial support from the Nugent Foundation.
WHEN: Noon to 2 p.m. Open to all. Organizers say people can walk in with no need to call ahead.
WHERE: St. Peter’s Lutheran Church, 719 Fifth St.