PARAGOULD, AR (KAIT) – One Region 8 community served up some holiday cheer Saturday afternoon. Volunteers in Paragould opened the Greene County Fairgrounds to provide meals to those in need.
"If we feed 25, that's great. If we feed 500, that's wonderful too," Racheale West said.
West expects her plate to feel a little less full, as she and nearly 40 volunteers prepared enough turkey and trimmings to feed as many as 600 people in Paragould.
"Once it's over with, it will kind of be a relaxing moment, but it's a great feeling," West said.
Work began three weeks ago to put on the first ever community-wide Christmas dinner. Many told West that it was impossible to pull off a meal like this on such short notice, but donors and volunteers stepped up to help.
"This community is able to pull together when somebody needs it, and that is so important," West added.
She says she found it in her heart to help the growing number of people in need this holiday season, so she recruited other residents to make it a little merrier for the rest of her community.
"If you haven't volunteered or helped somebody along the way, you'd just be amazed at the blessing it gives you in your hear and the warm feeling that you get from that," Lorey Davis of Paragould said.
Davis gave away 200 stockings full of toys to children who attended the meal.
"We just want to give them whatever we can. It just helps our heart," Davis said.
Money is tight for many families, like the Stevensons, whose five children received a warm meal and gifts Saturday afternoon.
"It helps my kids get out and be reached by other people and helps us meet other people and get involved with the community," Christie Stevenson said.
West says she hopes the Christmas dinner becomes an annual tradition in Paragould. She intends to start the planning process in January for a bigger and better event next year.