Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

December 26, 2013

Volunteers give up Christmas morning, afternoon to help mission

BILL ARCHER
Bluefield Daily Telegraph

BLUEFIELD — Several volunteers traded the comfort of their homes on Christmas morning to help provide a hot meal for people who came to the Bluefield Union Mission. Fewer than a dozen volunteers served up hot meals consisting of a generous portion of ham, green beans, macaroni & cheese, a dinner roll, soft during and pie to nearly 150 people.

“We need eight meals for a family over on Carolina Avenue,” Craig Hammond, executive director of the Bluefield Union Mission said. “Their pipes froze overnight and they can’t cook anything.”

The service line included Doris Sue Kantor dishing out the ham, Brad Greene putting a scoop of green beans in the container, Debbie Brewster serving the macaroni & cheese, and Norrs Kantor putting in the dinner rolls. Lee-Anne Greene demonstrated incredible dexterity by closing the lids on the meals along with placing a napkin and utensils in a bag — all while holding her 15-month-old son, Bradley.

“I used to do this kind of a thing at home when I grew up,” Brad Greene said of serving at the mission. “Lee-Anne and I started coming here last year for Thanksgiving, and decided to come back again for the Christmas meal serving. This has just blossomed for us as a family tradition.” Lee-Anne is from Bluefield while Brad Greene is from Daytona, Fla.

“This is Bradley’s second year of helping here,” Hammond said in passing.

Neil Rose, a cook at Cracker Barrel, assisted with keeping the food service lines filled while Pete Sternloff, Jim Justice and Dr. Joel Schor kept the meals moving from the assembly table to the door where people waited for the meals.

“I already did my rounds at the hospital this morning,” Schor said. “Kathy is there working in the emergency room right now,” he added, making reference to his wide, Dr. Kathy Wides.

Hammond said that by 1:45 p.m., the volunteers had served 143 hot meals, “but you might as well put 150 in there because they’ll probably be there before we close up shop today,” he said.

– Contact Bill Archer at barcher@bdtonline.com