Volunteers to serve at the Bread Basket on Christmas Day

Dec. 23, 2012 @ 05:03 AM

Christmas is a time for giving, which usually means something found in a gift bag or shiny box. But for some people, the giving is of their time as they spend their holiday bringing joy to others. Without such a gift, the mid-day meal served to about 300 people at the Bread Basket would not be possible.

One such volunteer is Patsye Edwards, who said she decided to volunteer because she was going to be by herself Christmas Day.

“I worked many years as a waitress and had to work on Mother’s Day and be away from my children," she said. "I just decided, 'Why shouldn’t I help out at the Bread Basket?' I like to work around food and I am able to do it.”

Edwards noted that Sanford has been good to her and she wants to give back.

"I grew up in Indiana, but I’ve spent the past 54 years here. The best part about volunteering is that it does more for you than for the people you are helping," said Edwards. "It’s a good feeling to be healthy enough to do this. I’m 79 years old and it could very well be me that is need of help. There are some things I can’t do, but this is something I can do.”

For volunteers, their shift begins about 7:30 a.m. Tuesday as they begin preparing a holiday feast which can stand its own with any restaurant buffet or family gathering, according to Susan Rosenthal, who manages the facility. Tuesday’s menu includes turkey (if they can get enough), ham, biscuits, gravy, corn on and off the cob, tossed salad, fresh collards, sweet potatoes, Irish potatoes and, thanks to the members of Cool Springs Baptist Church, green bean casserole.

“Much of this meal uses the ovens and it is a very generous thing for Cool Springs Baptist Church to take care of the green bean casseroles,” said Rosenthal. “This frees up a lot oven space. All of the food has been donated from the community. It takes a lot of food because, generally, we tell people who come here that if they mind their manners, they can eat until they are full."

Rosenthal notes that the number of people the Bread Basket is feeding is up, basically due to the economy.

"People who were on unemployment still haven’t found work and their benefits have run out," she said. "We were feeding about 175 people a day last year and those numbers have averaged about 218 this year. Christmas Day, we will see at least 250 and probably more like 300 people."

Volunteers will be helping with the cooking, the serving, the cleaning and the entertaining, which will include goodie bags of non-perishable items and prizes given to people who answer trivia questions. There even will be people who will play music during the lunch.