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Serving Christmas dinner to needy



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December 22, 2010 | 08:43 AM
Christmas Day is a time to be spent enjoying family, friends and a special dinner. It's not a time to be alone or in need.

Five families from Immanuel Lutheran Church are trying to make sure everyone in the area has an option to enjoy Christmas dinner on Saturday night. Led by Ashley Miu and her family, it will be the second straight year a free Christmas dinner will be served at the church, 1229 Park Row.

Last year, Miu started the free Christmas dinner because similar events are held in cities such as Milwaukee. But, she said nothing was being done here in Lake Geneva. She said the church has a breakfast program twice a week and people attend that for the food and companionship.

"I thought, why not do it for Christmas, too," Miu said.

Only a few families showed up to the event last year, but this year Miu is expecting more. She said they're planning for 30 to 40 people this time around.

"Just because only a few showed up doesn't mean there isn't a need here for this," she said.

Immanuel Lutheran Church Pastor Mary Ann Moller-Gunderson said there are people in the community who may no longer have family in the area and would otherwise spend the holiday alone. She said there also are people who may not be able to afford to have a Christmas dinner.

She said this is am alternative way so those people can have dinner and fellowship with others.

"This is a difficult time for some people," Moller-Gunderson said. "Sometimes they need a warm, wonderful, hot meal. This is intended to meet many needs."

Moller-Gunderson, said this project is an example of some of the "wonderful" things members of the church do on a regular basis.

"This is an example of how we serve the community and are a welcoming haven for people," she said.

Moller-Gunderson and Miu said most of the items for the dinner have been donated by local businesses. She said it's that type of giving which made her realize what a wonderful community Lake Geneva is.

"This dinner is for people who think wouldn't it be great to be a part of something for that day," Moller-Gunderson said.

Along with dinner, there will be Christmas crafts and a Christmas movie.

Miu said the event is fun for her family. She said her mother, father and brother all help out.

"They love it, too," she said. "It's a way to spend time together and help."

Miu said the day will be "perfect" if families and community members come to the church to "have fun and celebrate with us." She said it is about "establishing relationships with people" and giving them an opportunity to be spend time with others during the holiday.

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