Community services

Open Pantry Community Services adapts Christmas dinner for the second year

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) — A nearly half-century tradition on Christmas Day continued on Saturday, Springfield’s Open Pantry Community Services provided a Christmas dinner for the homeless.

In the past, the tables were filled with homeless people and families with nowhere else to go. But for two years now, Open Pantry volunteers have met homeless people at the door and offered them a meal.

Lucian, a member of the homeless community, remembers those pre-pandemic dinners.

“It’s great, you get the food from the gathering, celebrate Christmas, that’s the way to do it. That’s the way to do it, yeah,” Lucian said.

As these homeless men ducked out of the cold rain to get their Christmas dinners on the go,
volunteers in the kitchen working in tandem, cooking the food and preparing it for takeout.

Open Pantry Community Services executive director Terry Maxey told 22News: ‘We have thousands of people who are home for the holidays, we have more grandmas year after year and without them this program wouldn’t be as successful as it is.”

Among those volunteers was Terry Maxey’s 18-year-old daughter, Sydney, a freshman at Howard University. She has been volunteering here since childhood.

Sydney said: “It’s just something special and it’s to help people get the feeling back.”

And as these homeless men leave clutching their Christmas dinners, they hope that maybe next Christmas Day they can congregate inside the cafeteria as they have so often done before at Christmas dinners. holidays.