A longtime tradition is returning on December 25th to the Oneonta community. It's the 34th annual Friends of Christmas Dinner which, unfortunately, due to COVID, will be a take-out and delivered dinner experience instead of being in-person.

Every year, people in our community who don't have family they can get together with or are elderly and unable to get out, look forward to a free, delicious holiday meal provided by many volunteers, coupled with donations of food and money for this dinner.

Because of COVID restrictions, only takeout meals and home-delivered meals will be happening this year. In addition, organizers cannot accept food donations for the meals as in the past, however, monetary donations would be greatly appreciated to purchase needed food. Please send monetary donations to St. Mary's Church, 39 Walnut St, Oneonta, NY 13820. Write FOC 2021 on the memo line.

St. Mary's Church organizes this dinner every year with volunteers from the community and area churches. Local businesses and individuals also donate their time and money to help put this dinner on. Food preparation and meal pickup will take place at 18 Elm St., Oneonta. Meal pickup time on Dec. 25 is from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm.

Preparations will begin on December 23rd and wrap up on December 25th when the last dish is dried and put away. Organizers invite anyone who wishes to volunteer their time must follow COVID restrictions by masking while volunteering and must be vaccinated for COVID-19. To volunteer, reach out to Laurie at 607-432-7907. Help is needed with food preparation, meal packaging, cleanup, and meal delivery.

For meal delivery or takeout, please call Nancy at 607-435-7188. For general questions contact Kendra at 607-386-0522.

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Have you ever wondered what is done with leftover food? It's certainly not wasted! All unused food and supplies will be given to Saturday's Bread and The Lord's Table feeding programs.

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