By Mark Boshnack
The Daily Star
---- — Christmas dinner will come early for those who want to partake in a community meal in Oneonta.
There are two area opportunities to have the meal on the holiday.
This is the 25th anniversary for Friends of Christmas, which is holding its community dinner from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. Saturday at the First United Methodist Church at 66 Chestnut St.
The event was moved from its usual Christmas Day because the volunteers are being assisted by Saturday’s Bread feeding program, organizer Mary Ann Hartmann said. With numbers up about 100 to about 650 at a Thanksgiving program earlier this year, a similar number is expected for Saturday. This mirrors increases at area food pantries, she said.
After 25 years people know “we have a wonderful meal, and the atmosphere is lovely,” Hartmann said.
The preparations start today, with volunteers needed for both days. The first meal was for 15, said Carol Forman, who along with her husband, Ed, is also involved with the organization. Mary Southern and Nancy Fodero are also in that group. People come for a variety of reasons, including having family out of town and wanting to help others, she said.
Anyone who wants to volunteer is welcome and should call Forman at 432-3084. Those who want to arrange deliveries can call Fodero at 432-0803. In addition to volunteers, Forman said she is looking for donations of homemade cookies.
The First United Methodist Church in Walton will sponsor a free community baked-ham dinner Christmas Day at the fire station on 61 West St., according to a media release. Doors open at 12:15 p.m., with dinner served at 12:45 p.m. For more information and reservations, including pickups or takeouts, call Helen Caffery at 865-4304 by today with the number needed.
The annual Christmas Dinner at the Stamford Fire House will take place at 4 p.m. Christmas Day. This is the eighth year that Shelly and Al Vamosy Jr., pastors at the Mountaintop Christian Fellowship Church in Bloomville, have presented it.
“We do it so people can share with others and share in the Christmas spirit,” she said. It’s her husband’s gift to her. Anyone who wants to participate is welcomed, she said.
Reservations are encouraged but not required. They can be made by calling the Vamosy residence at 652-2613, or the fire house at 652-7241.