Milaca Township volunteers are aiming to provide relief during a difficult holiday season by hosting a free community Christmas dinner for those in need.
With COVID-19 restrictions in place, the free dinner will be provided via curbside pickup on Dec. 25, from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Milaca Township Hall.
The dinner will be a traditional meal featuring turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, stuffing, vegetables, a roll and Christmas cookies for dessert.
After taking a year off from scheduling the free dinner, Keith Dullinger played a vital role in reviving a tradition that was started years ago.
“There was a couple in Milaca, Tim and Vicky Johnson, that had done the dinner for a number years and always did it on Christmas,” Dullinger said. “They started something that was a good thing and I just thought it was something that should continue, Dullinger said, adding he had volunteered to help with the dinner in past years before taking the reins as lead organizer.
The dinner was initially started to help those who were in need, or new to the community, Dullinger said.
“If you were new to the community or a vet or a small family, or new to the area or in some financial troubles, it was there. It was a nice gathering and it was free,” he explained.
Dullinger said many people throughout the community have stepped up to help with the meal.
“A lot of hands and family members have helped and are going to help with this,” Dullinger said, adding that some businesses and churches in the area have also chipped in to help get the dinner ready along with the Milaca Township Hall providing the venue for free.
Though reviving the tradition started years ago, COVID-19 restrictions won’t allow the meal to be shared normally.
“The sad part this year is that opportunity to interact and that social aspect of the dinner is gone and that is unfortunate,” Dullinger said.
With the free Christmas dinner returning this year, it remains to be decided if the tradition will return.
When asked if the dinner will make another appearance, Dullinger replied ,“I hope so,” adding that it depends on how well it is received this year and what impact COVID-19 will have.
There still remains some availability for meals.
Dullinger said that there have been close to 100 confirmed pick-ups out of a possible 200 dinners.
If interested in a meal contact Dullinger at via phone at 218-966-0602 or by email at email@example.com.