May 20, 2024


Free For All Food

Volunteers cook, package, deliver thousands of Christmas Day dinners | Local News

KEARNEY — After members of First United Methodist Church in Kearney determined they couldn’t host an in-person Christmas dinner for the first time in 49 years because of COVID-19 safety issues, they partnered with many local organizations and businesses to provide a delivered and curbside pickup community dinner Friday.

Church members and other volunteers prepared approximately 2,000 meals at Mom and Dad’s Bar-B-Que for delivery to individuals and also to CHI Health Good Samaritan, Kearney Area Regional Medical Center, several assisted living and nursing homes, the Buffalo County Jail, and to similar sites in Holdrege and Grand Island.

The turnout of volunteers was so great that by 11:30 a.m. several vehicles were still in line to make deliveries when the last of those meals were on their way.

Another 1,000 or more meals were boxed for curbside pickup, according to Hot Meals USA founder Dick Cochran, who handled the logistics of the food preparation.

The event relied on donations of funds and products such as food, meal boxes and other supplies; and volunteer help to prepare, plate, package and deliver meals.

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It was similar to this year’s Community Thanksgiving Dinner, which also had to be changed from its usual dine-in format at the Kearney Knights of Columbus Hall.