Comfort Food 2

Volunteers make dumplings in December 2015 in the kitchen of Murphysboro Knights of Columbus Hall.

MURPHYSBORO — Plans are underway for the 25th annual Murphysboro Community Christmas Dinner.

“We still need volunteers, especially delivery drivers who would need to be at the hall at 10 a.m. Christmas morning,” Jennifer O’Donnell said. “We prefer to have two adults per vehicle.”

She said each year they deliver around 100 meals to those who cannot attend the dinner. It helps to have someone to navigate to the address and help carry items along with the driver.

She also would not turn away volunteers to help with the dinner and clean up at the Knights of Columbus Hall.

“If you want to volunteer, 10 a.m. Christmas is the time to show up, too,” O’Donnell said.

This year’s menu will include turkey, ham, dressing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, green beans, rolls and dessert. A commercial restaurant in town cooks the turkeys and hams. It is reheated at the KC Hall, and the rest of the food is cooked there.

She said they plan to serve around 400 meals. Last year, volunteers made 100 deliveries and served between 200 and 250 meals at the KC Hall.

“We picked up 16 turkeys,” O’Donnell added.

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Desserts are donated by individuals. O’Donnell said they could use a few more desserts, but cannot serve anything with dairy in it or that needs to be refrigerated. Desserts should be taken to the KC Hall on Monday.

“This is the 25th year for the dinner. James Chambers started it as his Eagle Scout project 25 years ago. Ed and I have been doing it for four year,” O’Donnell said.

Jennifer and Ed O’Donnell coordinate the event. Murphysboro United Methodist Church is the home for the event and the main sponsor. They solicit donations from Murphysboro Chamber of Commerce members and Murphysboro churches. A few individuals also contribute to the dinner each year.

“It is a pretty big party,” O’Donnell said.

Donnie Falknor of Herrin and his wife come. He provides music and sings. Door prizes are given away throughout the event. That jolly old elf from the North Pole will make an appearance, and everyone will go home with a small gift.

“It’s a lot of fun. People come and they don’t go home until the end,” O’Donnell said. “That was my surprise the first year we did it. It is a Christmas party.”

Donations for the dinner are accepted throughout the year. Checks may be sent to Murphysboro United Methodist Church, 1500 Pine St., Murphysboro, IL 62966. Put Christmas dinner on the memo line.

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