Volunteers spend Christmas serving others at Bread Basket
The Bread Basket volunteers ranged in age and spanned generations as dozens offered their time and energy serving others Christmas Day.
The Bread Basket served more than 300 people a mid-day meal Monday and cooked food for 450 Tuesday, said Susan Rosenthal, who manages the facility.
All of the men, women and children at the Bread Basket were given a goody bag and the children were able to make their selection among dozens of stuffed animals.
"Everyone comes in with a warm smile and kind word," Rosenthal said. "The volunteers are fabulous to give up their time to come and help those in need."
Bill Batten, one of Tuesday's volunteers, has worked at the Bread Basket during various holidays and always considers serving a blessing.
"The best place to be is on the serving line," Batten said. "You get to see their thankful faces."
The volunteers, he said, are serving God and helping their community.
Ronney Moss, a local flight instructor and regular Bread Basket volunteer, said he enjoys giving back on Christmas, but people shouldn't wait until the holidays to help their neighbors.
"I had the time to give back," Moss said. "I am very blessed and I wanted to celebrate the gift of Christmas and celebrate the birth of Jesus.
Regenia Simmons and her daughter, Sara, took turns on the serving line and assisted clearing tables.
"It was my daughter's idea," Regenia Simmons said. "She wanted to be here to help people."
Sara agreed and said they had talked about serving on Christmas for several years .
"It is so rewarding," Sara said. "It feels good to help others and it gives me a warm, fuzzy feeling."
While walking through the serving line, many of the people swapped stories with the volunteers or wished each other "Merry Christmas."
Rob Engelmann and his wife Jennifer said they wanted to do something meaningful on Christmas.
"Helping others is the spirit of Christmas," Engelmann said.
Rosenthal said the number of people coming to eat at the Bread Basket has increased since last year and they will continue to accept donations from the community to help feed those in need.
"The farmers and the people who donated food make this possible," she said. "And we are always appreciative of anything anyone can offer."
The Bread Basket, located at 140 E. Chisholm St., serves meals from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. every weekday.