Christmas feast has record turnout

ENGLEWOOD — The 21st annual Englewood United Methodist Church Christmas feast held on Christmas Day was a resounding success, organizers said.

More than 1,800 dinners were served, a church record. There were 135 dinners delivered to the home bound and those without transportation in Venice, Port Charlotte, North Port and Englewood. Twelve teams of two people each volunteered their time on Christmas day doing the deliveries.

“The volunteers are tremendous,” said Grace Talada, co-chairwoman of the EUMC Christmas feast. “They were always there to help. We never had such an outpouring of support before.”

More than 400 volunteers helped out Christmas Day at the church, serving, greeting, busing tables, cooking, performing live music and everything it takes to feed 1,800 people in the space of three hours.

The church aims to reach more people each year — especially the homeless — Talada said. This year it reached out to those who come for help to the food pantry at Foursquare Church on 180 W. Langsner St.

Volunteers also delivered dinners to 21 people at a Venice motel where homeless families dined in six rooms. There were 36 meals delivered to apartments at Grove City Manor. Each home delivery included a poinsettia.

Most of the people who signed up for delivery this year signed up for next year.

“We never had this many sign up for next year (this far in advance),” Talada said.

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About Tom

Tom Chang is a freelance journalist with a background in multimedia journalism and web publishing. He is currently pursuing his Masters in Journalism and Media Studies from the University of South Florida St.Petersburg. He graduated in 2004 with a Bachelors Degree in Mass Communications at USF Tampa. Tom's interests include a little bit of everything from entertainment to sports. He also wishes to delve into creative writing writing sci-fi/fantasy stories. Tom was recently the Online Editor for USF St. Petersburg's the Crow's Nest, he joined the staff in January 2010 where he started freelance writing, photographing, copy editing and later became a staff writer. Tom’s freelance experience in journalism amassed a wide range of companies including Creative Loafing, The Focus Magazine, Lutz News, Examiner.com, and Tampa Tribune.
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