Free community Christmas dinner hosted by JCHC set for Thursday

Published 4:01 pm Tuesday, December 19, 2023

The Jessamine County Homeless Coalition is holding its second annual free community Christmas Dinner on Thursday, Dec.21, at the Jessamine County Public Library from 4 to 7 p.m.

Those who don’t wish to eat inside can also grab a to-go dinner through the library drive-thru.

Johnny Templin, director of the Homeless Coalition, said this dinner is for folks of all walks of life, regardless of their income or need.

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“It’s a community thing, so come and enjoy a sense of community with people,” he said.

The Homeless Coalition puts $1,000 aside for each free community dinner event. Most of that will be spent this week for equipment and food safety.

“We’re ready to go, we’re expecting based on the numbers that we saw during thanksgiving and other places we’re expecting to serve 650 meals,” Templin said.

With that being said, Templin said the community definitely outdid themselves this year with their donations of foodstuff for dinner. This year, volunteers and organizers won’t have to buy extra food at the grocery store to ensure everyone gets fed.

“The community definitely stepped up for our food needs,” Templin said. “It was slow starting, and part of that is because we don’t promote our Christmas dinner until Thanksgiving dinner is over with. So this one was a little slower to start with this year, but the community has definitely come through, more so than last time!”

Despite all the help through volunteers and donations, Templin admits a unique difficulty with organizing the Christmas dinner.

“Christmas is always different; it’s harder to pull together because people are on longer vacations. I realized just yesterday that the UK vs. UL game will be on at 4 p.m. we’re fighting everything. But we will be there. We were thin on food for a while, but we’re in good shape now. If anything, our biggest need at this point is what we’re calling the first shift volunteers but I think we even got that covered at this point,” Templin said.

A team of volunteers with the Homeless Coalition will be dropping off traditional Christmas meals to every EMT, police department and fire station in the county. Last Thanksgiving is the first time the coalition passed out food to first responders, and Templin is thrilled to be able to serve them again.

“We’ll be out there ready to bless as many people that need it and get going. It’ll be our traditional meal, just like we have been doing. We will have ham this time as well, so it’ll be like an eight course meal for them,” Templin said.