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Pre-packaged and ready-to-eat Christmas holiday dinners will be handed out this Friday at Princeton VFW Post 806 from noon to 4 p.m.

The free curbside-only service involves the same community groups and organizations that participated in a meal distribution last month, said VFW Post Commander David Good.

Last month, more than 125 Thanksgiving meals were served, Good said. This week, the menu will include ham, scalloped potatoes, green beans, a dinner roll and cheese cake or bars as a dessert choice.

The Princeton Pantry will provide food for the meal. Catholic Charities will cook it at the Princeton Civic Center, then the prepared meals will be brought to the VFW Post and placed in warmers, Good said.

Volunteers will be waiting outside the post on Second Street at the VFW Hall entrance to take curbside orders, and bring them to waiting vehicles in line.

Good recalled how the recent Thanksgiving meal distribution came together, and how the various groups were involved.

“We can’t do a meal, and the Princeton Pantry had the food, but didn’t have the means to cook it,” Good said. “Catholic Charities Senior Dining said they wanted to get involved, because they had the means to cook meals, but they didn’t have a way to serve it. We [the VFW] got involved and said we could do distribution. We have a kitchen where we can warm up the meals. That’s pretty much it.”

He added: “We try to make it as simple as possible. People don’t have to get out of their cars. We will wish them ‘Merry Christmas’ and they will be on their way.”

“What we coordinated for Thanksgiving, we’ll do again for Christmas,” said Randy Hatch, current community volunteer and former Princeton American Legion Woodcock-Herbst Post 216 American Legion commander.

"Catholic Charities was more than happy to cook and package food, and do it safely and correctly, Hatch said, adding the American Legion provided interim storage. The VFW warms up the meals and distributes them. “We really have wonderful groups working with this,” Hatch said.

The Thanksgiving holiday meals that didn’t get distributed were delivered to M Health Fairview Northland Medical Center and first responders.

“Anyone who needed or should have had a nice Thanksgiving dinner was able to enjoy one,” Hatch said. “We also made sure to meals to some of the senior care facilities in town.”

Good said if there is a veteran or veteran’s family without a holiday meal this week for Christmas, they should contact the VFW at vfw806@yahoo.com.

“That’s the best way to contact us, because we are closed due to COVID-19 restrictions,” he said. “That’s why it’s been hard for people to reach us. Please use the official Princeton VFW Post email to let us know who needs a meal.”

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