By Carolyn Lee
The Imperial Republican
There was enough food for everyone to enjoy a nice Christmas dinner last Wednesday, thanks to the Southwest Nebraska Ministerial Association, a lot of donors and a lot of volunteers.
With 300 diners expected, a total of 335 were actually served at the Eagles Club.
In the past six years, about 275 to 300 people were served a Christmas meal each year.
Coordinator Jody Bopp said, “We actually started right at 11 a.m. and by 11:40 a.m. had most sat down. It was pretty chaotic, but that’s okay.”
He said a number of people commented that they’d celebrated Christmas the previous weekend, and were at loose ends for a meal on Christmas Day, leading to the higher attendance number.
At least 30 volunteers served turkey, ham, mashed potatoes and gravy, sweet potatoes, dressing, corn, rolls and pies. Bopp said some volunteers didn’t want to let anyone take their place during the meal. They preferred to keep on giving.
And people stayed to visit. “It’s not like Sunday dinners where you eat and leave,” Bopp noted. People stayed to visit, which was the original idea of the Ministerial Association—give those without a place to celebrate Christmas a place to be with others.
Besides the meal, those attending were given apples and oranges, compliments of the three banks in Imperial, and popcorn from AK Acres.
Bopp said, “We had so many people donate stuff, and businesses really went out of their way to donate things.”
There were very few leftovers after those attending were served. Meals were also taken to the courthouse, hospital and to shut-ins.
In addition, free-will donations of $2,030 were contributed, which will be used by the Ministerial Association for its indigent program.
“I think this meal is something that needs to be done. It serves a good community purpose,” Bopp stated.