Danville's Black Bear bar offering dinner, company for homeless on Christmas

Danville's Black Bear bar offering dinner, company for homeless on Christmas

DANVILLE — While most restaurants and taverns will be closed on Christmas, one local bar will open its doors to feed the homeless.

The Black Bear Bar & Grill, at 1902 W. Williams St., Danville, is hosting a free dinner from 1 to 5 p.m. Dec. 25 for homeless people as well as those who will be alone on the holiday.

"Christmas is all about providing a little hope," said Harvey Dove, whose wife, Jami, has owned the business since July 2015. "And for some people, that's all they need to turn their life around."

The dinner will feature turkey, ham and all of the traditional holiday fixings, said bartender Marie Crane. No alcohol will be served at that time.

Since the Black Bear sits just west of the city, the business is partnering with Mr. Taxi to provide free rides to those who want to attend from the Danville Post Office, 303 N. Hazel St.

"They will also take them back," bartender Marie Crane said.

Harvey Dove is a veteran Danville police officer. He said he got the idea when he went to work one morning and saw a homeless woman named Tammy.

"She sleeps in the (public safety building)," Dove said. "I thought, 'Gosh, this lady isn't going to have anywhere to go on Christmas.' ... I came back and told Marie. Marie's a pretty tough lady, but she has a heart of gold. She picked it up and took it from there."

"We call ourselves the Bear family," Crane said of the Doves and the eight employees. "We jumped on the idea. We're all going to be here to help."

Dove said he also mentioned the idea to his three kids, ages 15, 13 and 11, expecting a little grumbling when he asked them to help out.

"They loved the idea," he said.

Because this is the first year, Crane said, she's not sure how many people to expect. But she wants to be prepared for anyone who walks through the door looking for a hot meal and company.

If people would like to help, she said, they can donate nonperishable food items or warm clothing — such as hats, gloves, scarves or socks — to give to attendees between 10 a.m. to 3 a.m.

"I'd love to give them a little gift," said Crane, who has already purchased some hats and gloves to give away. "I don't like to be cold."

Meantime, Dove is trying to get the word out about the dinner. He plans to post flyers at the post office, Danville Public Library and hospital emergency room and ask his colleagues to spread the word.

Crane said she hopes the Christmas meal becomes an annual event.

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