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Local groups serve meals on Christmas

While some families were unwrapping presents Christmas morning, two separate local organizations were preparing meals to feed people across LaGrange. 

The Community Dinner, previously called Up All Night, filled plates and bellies with turkey and more at the old Canon Street School.

“We’ve been doing this for approximately 30 years on Christmas and Thanksgiving,” said Community Dinner event organizer Jimmy Edwards.

 “It is so important because there are needy people here in LaGrange.” 

Edwards said that he wants to help those needing a meal feel prideful. 

“We try to make people feel good about us feeding them,” Edwards said.

Each year, Edwards said that they have all the same volunteers. 

“This year, we had some new people come and join us,” Edwards said. “Our goal is to feed more than 500 people.” 

Aside from serving meals at the school, volunteers also spent Christmas day delivering meals.

Down the road, volunteers at Ark Refuge Ministries were also working hard to prepare meals and serve those in need in LaGrange. 

“Today, we will serve 625 plates,” said Chief Executive Officer of Ark Refuge Ministries Yvonne Lopez. 

“We also will do the Transition Center. We are delivering to senior citizens or those who are disabled.” 

Ark offers housing (short and mid-term), and permanent housing for the homeless who do not yet have the capacity to be productive members of society

“The guys that come here, they come with a need,” Lopez said. 

“They need us to help them. We try to teach them to give back to the community.”

Ark also delivered meals to the Tall Pines community. 

“We’ve also been giving out toys at a strong rate,” Lopez said. “I’m sure we have at least 400 toys to give out.”

Lopez said the residents living at Ark were also a major help in wrapping presents, preparing the meals and serving those in need. 

“The night before the guys put on their Santa hats and lights, and we put on Christmas carols,” Lopez said. “We put all the toys out in the sanctuary and wrap all the gifts. It is a way for them to serve and give back during the holidays.”

Lopez ‘s husband, Carlos, died five years ago, and ever since she said she has been working to keep his ministry going.

“My husband started this ministry 30 years ago, ” Lopez said. 

“I am building a foundation. Christmas time is always a special time here.” 

Santa Claus was also in attendance to take pictures and had out gifts to children coming in. 

“This year we were able to give out 11 bicycles,” Lopez said. 

“It is just a wonderful time for us here at the Ark to be of service to give back to our community.”