Holdrege church gives the gift of free meals in spirit of holidays
As Christmas gets closer, a community breaks bread with a free meal in the spirit of the holiday season.'
The First Presbyterian Church in Holdrege hosted its Holiday feast.
Elves and reindeer dressed volunteers serve up a warm meal- holiday style: turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, and delicious desserts.
They've started doing it 14 years ago.
Every second Sunday in December the church opens up to give free meals to the public.
If anything has changed over the years "We stopped peeling the potatoes, so that way everybody knows they are real potatoes," Bev Grehn, one of the brain children and organizer of the event, said.
But the mission has been the same - to bring people together.
"We see so much of each other at thanksgiving. And at Christmas it tapers off, people get busy with parties and celebration and things of that nature. And I think what really motivated us was we need something before Christmas," Pastor Kirwin Steward said.
But this church has seen more benefits than filling tummies.
"That's one of the motivating factors behind to do this is, who can we help besides just doing a meal once a year," Steward said.
This meal-giving has enabled the church to lend a hand to those in need outside of its own community - they have helped one man in particular that sticks out to the pastor and Grehn.
"When a meal got delivered to this individual, he expressed a lot of concern, a lot of needs in his life. We began a process of helping him out with some financial assistance and getting him to come to church. And ministering this individual became a long term thing and it continues today," Steward recalls.
You could see non church goers and congregation members alike.
"I'm just so blessed to see such a good crowd and people who need some of this food who really enjoy it," Virignia Gustafson said. She is one of the church members at First Presbyterian Church.
The night was filled with laughter and good food.
"The foods good and the people are nice to visit with," Warner Carlson said. He was one of the community members who does not go to this church that attended with his wife in matching USA sweaters.
The pastor says they wanted people to know that this meal was a gift which is why he insisted it to be free.
About 300 people stopped by and also had a crew delivering to other in the community as well.