Nonprofit Profile

Christmas dinner brings community together

Carol Wagner Leader Correspondent

Photo by Carol Wagner The Rev. Blake Blakesley and Angie Wilber are preparing for the Community Christmas Dinner at First Presbyterian Church in Shawano.

For anyone who doesn’t have a place to go and be with others on Christmas, the Community Christmas Dinner at First Presbyterian Church in Shawano will bring you fellowship and food.

Angie Wilber started the dinners, but the Christmas Dinner this year and all the ones next year were in jeopardy of ending until many people stepped up to help

“I want people to feel like this is something they want to do,” Wilber said. “Food brings people together.”

When First Presbyterian Pastor Blake Blakesley heard the dinner might be in jeopardy, he said he would see that it took place. The pastor and his wife have just been here a few months.

“Since coming here we have attended all the community dinners,” he said. “It’s a great idea. It‘s a wonderful way for the community to get together from all walks of life.”

The Christmas dinner will be at 5:30 p.m. Christmas Day in the church hall with ham, and other items paid for by the Shawano Clergy Association.

Fannita’s Bakery is donating bread and bakery, and Angie’s Main Café is donating the mashed potatoes. Many people are making desserts and salads.

“People have seen that this is a really good outreach,” Wilber said. “The guests that attend the dinners really look forward to coming.”

She recalled living in a shelter in Milwaukee and could go to St. Benedicts for a hot meal. In 2010, she got the idea for the dinners, and the first one was held on Christmas Day

After getting a slow start on next year’s dinners, which are held the fourth Tuesday of the month, each month now has a group or organization signed up. The meals are open to anyone.

“The purpose of the dinner is to bring the community together in a very common and practical way through food, fellowship and fun,” Wilber said.

Wilber said they could use more volunteers to help Christmas Day and she is also in need of donut boxes to transport the bakery.

To volunteer or for more information, call her at 715-851-6247.