If Gerald and Vivian Stewart of Neosho had to sum up in one word how the food was during the Neosho Community Christmas Dinner on Christmas day, that word would be “good.”
“We had no family coming in today,” said Gerald.
“This is our first time coming to this dinner,” added Vivian.
The Stewarts have been married for 53 years and have five children. The couple joined around 350-375 people at the Civic, where the dinner was held. KNEO Radio, along with area churches, provided a traditional Christmas dinner consisting of ham, turkey, mashed potatoes, dressing, desserts and other items. There were also around 100 homebound people served, according to Roberta Foster, with KNEO.
Vivian was pleased with the radio station and the churches coming together to host this event.
“I think that it is wonderful,” she said. “They get a blessing, too, by doing this, we appreciate it, we do. We are just thankful to come here and we are so thankful, even though we don’t know anybody it is still a good thing (the dinner) to gather together, we really appreciate it.”
“I think that it is a blessing to all people,” Gerald added. “The people here are great. I think that they did a wonderful job and I really appreciate it. That way she doesn’t have to cook.”
The dinner started at 11 a.m. However, Foster noted they had about 20 early birds at 10 a.m.
During the buffet-style meal, area musicians performed Christmas music.
Asked about their Christmases growing up, Vivian remembers her mom cooking.
“We had a cook stove and wood,” said Vivian. “She would cut the turkey in half, make it half at a time. She made everything homemade.”
Asked what his fondest memory was at Christmastime, Gerald said, “family getting together, they all get together.”
ML Glaab also attended the dinner.
“This is the second time. I was here several years ago,” Glaab said. “I didn’t have anybody to eat with, I don’t like to eat alone.”
Mike Takach of Carthage came down to be with family and friends during this dinner.
“It is like a get-together, like a family get-together,” Takach said. “But I am sure that there are people out there who really don’t have anything for Christmas and this is an opportunity for them.”
Countless volunteers took time off of their schedules to help in the cause. One such volunteer was Gretel Schmidt.
“This is my third year,” Schmidt said. “We volunteer as a group with the church that I go to, Vida Abundante in Neosho, and I just love the experience of serving with my family and friends from church. Volunteering makes me feel really good. I have done this for three years now and every time, it is different. And there are new people that come, new smiles and new families that I see. It is just a rewarding experience to give back to the community.”
Page 2 of 2 - As those attending left, each received a goody bag filled with fruit and candy for them to take home.