CHAMPAIGN — If your Christmas day is looking lonely or bleak, here's an invitation that might brighten the outlook.
First Christian Church will serve a free holiday turkey dinner, complete with caroling, decorations and entertainment, and the invitation is open to anyone who might otherwise be alone on Christmas or can't afford a holiday meal.
The church is hosting the dinner, and local business sponsors are helping pay for it, said Lynne Barnes, a church member helping organize the dinner.
Last year, the church hosted this dinner for the first time and served about 200 people, she said.
Families and individuals alike are welcome, and children brought to the dinner will even receive a small gift, Barnes said.
"We try to make it a really festive event," Barnes said.
The dinner will be held on Dec. 25 at the church at 3601 S. Staley Road, C. Appetizers will be served at 2 p.m., and the dinner will follow at 2:30 p.m.
Limited transportation will be available. The dinner will be served regardless of the weather. In fact, Barnes said, last year volunteers were expecting about 300 people, but it had snowed and the weather may have kept some people from venturing out.
"We felt excited about having that many," she said of the 200 who were served.
While the dinner is free, reservations are required no later than Dec. 19. Guests can reserve a place by calling 649-2315 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org .
When making the reservation, be sure to indicate whether you will be bringing children, along with their age and gender, so an appropriate gift can be provided for them, the church requests. Also indicate whether you'll need transportation.
Volunteers are also needed for this event to help carve the turkeys, set up, serve, clean-up and provide transportation, just to name a few of the jobs, Barnes said.
To volunteer online, see: http://www.fcc-online.org/#/home/christmas-dinner .