Open Pantry Community Services adapts Christmas Dinner for second year

Local News

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – A nearly half a century Christmas Day tradition continued Saturday, Springfield’s Open Pantry Community Services provided Christmas Dinner to the homeless.

In the past, tables would be filled with the homeless along with families with no other place to go. But for two years now, Open Pantry volunteers meet the homeless at the door and provide them with a meal.

Lucian, a member of the homeless community, recalls those pre-pandemic dinners.

“It’s great, you get the food the gathering, celebrate Christmas, that’s the way to do it. That’s the way to do it, yes,” Lucian said.

As these homeless men stepped inside out of the cold rain to receive their Christmas Dinners on the go,
volunteers in the kitchen working in tandem, cooked the food, and prepared it for take-out.

Executive Director of Open Pantry Community Services, Terry Maxey told 22News, “We have thousands that are home for the holidays we have more grandmas year after year and without them, this program would not be as successful as it is.”

Among those volunteers was Terry Maxey’s 18-year-old daughter, Sydney, a freshman at Howard University. She’s been volunteering here since childhood.

Sydney stated, “It’s just something special and it’s to help people have the feeling again.”

And as these homeless men leave clutching their Christmas dinners, they’re hoping that perhaps next Christmas day they’ll be able to gather together inside the cafeteria as they have so often before during holiday dinners.

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