WGXC-90.7 FM

A Community Center holiday feast!

Dec 26, 2010 9:58 am
Over 30 people came out Christmas Day for the second annual free holiday dinner at the Catskill Community Center, where a handful of volunteers dished out a good time, and a sumptuous meal, for those in need -- or just needing some community cheer -- this holiday season. Today's Daily Mail reports that for the second year in a row, the Center joined with volunteers and local merchants to make sure everyone had a hot, delicious meal on Christmas Day. The meal was open to anyone in the community who needed a helping hand, didn't want to spend the day alone or just wanted to celebrate with others in their community.

The recently-upgraded Community Center, on Main Street, will serve as the home for WGXC-FM's launch events in January, as well as a future home for the new station's Catskill studio.

"Today we are serving Christmas dinner for anyone in the community who wants to stop by and enjoy some company," said Kellie Darling, director of the Catskill Community Center.

Over 30 people turned out to share a meal, which included turkey, ham, baked ziti, salad, vegetables and other side dishes. And no one could bypass the dessert table on their way out.

All food was donated by local merchants, individuals and members of the Center's board of directors.

The tradition was started last year when a small group said they wanted to do something nice for the community during the holidays.

"Last year, some local merchants said they wanted to give back to the community but they didn't know what to do," Darling said. "We put our heads together and came up with this dinner. Last year we had such a wonderful turnout that I decided we should do it again this year."

"The community center is here for everyone in this community," she continued. "It's a nice feeling to know we can provide something for the community that they might not otherwise have had today."

A handful of volunteers turned out to serve up a good time on Christmas Day, including members of the National Junior Honor Society from Catskill Middle School.

"I wanted to help people in my community," student Rachel Wagman said. "I wanted to serve food to people and I found out I could do it here, so I volunteered."

"I felt like helping people and this is a great time of year to do that - that's what Christmas is all about," student Abbey Schultz added.

While the students volunteered as individuals - it wasn't a project the Honor Society asked them to do - several from the group decided doing a good deed was how they wanted to spend their Christmas. "I saw this in an ad and I called the Community Center," student Uma Kalsoom said. "I like to volunteer and my friend Abbey was doing it so we decided to volunteer together."

Art Klein, co-owner of Functional Sculpture in Catskill, was one of the original driving forces behind the dinner, which is fast becoming an annual tradition.

"This was something I had wanted to do for years," Klein said. "I mentioned it to my wife and she loved the idea, so we spoke to our friend, Hudson Talbott, who got in touch with the board of the Catskill Community Center. They liked the idea and turned it over to Kellie, and this is our second year doing it. It gives the community a sense of unity, fellowship and love, and it's a great sharing."

All leftovers from the meal, according to Klein's wife, Pat Feinman, will be donated to a Catskill halfway house for women. The goal, volunteers said, was to make sure everyone had some way to spend the holiday.

"This is a time of giving," volunteer Kathleen Regan said. "It should be something we do year-long because there are senior citizens, children, and they all get to sit together and enjoy one another."