GREEN BAY, Wisconsin (NBC 26) – The holidays can be the best time of year for many residents of northeastern Wisconsin. But some will spend Christmas completely alone.
It’s an experience Denise McFarlin knows well, which is why she is undertaking her biggest project to date.
“There is probably only one other day in the year, your birthday, which is more devastating to be alone,” she said.
Last Christmas, Four Winds Ministries of WI provided 500 free meals to community members. This year, the group is taking charge of 750 deliveries. And McFarlin says they need volunteers and donations to help get the job done.
“We know that we are stronger together as a community so we are looking for people who could be alone on Christmas,” she said. “So they want to volunteer or maybe they’re an empty nest.”
It all takes place at Spring Lake Church in Green Bay, where assistants will prepare take-out meals and deliver food across town.
“We have heard from several homeless families who will be coming to collect their meals because there is no residence where we can drop them off,” McFarlin said.
Volunteers deliver 500 Christmas dinners across the Green Bay area
McFarlin has enough to make 750 dinners of ham, baked potatoes, corn, rolls and cookies.
“We know the need is great,” she said. “We have heard from many elderly and homebound people.”
The majority of the food has been donated by local restaurants and caterers over the past 14 years. But in 2021, everything has been bought.
Green Bay organization seeks donations to serve nearly 500 Christmas meals to the community
“Currently, we also know there is an increase in the cost of food, so we’re running out of donations this year,” McFarlin said. “We’re about halfway through our goal of paying for this year’s meal.”
Despite this deficit, anyone can have a meal. And for the only ones on this holiday: “at least one nice delivery driver and knocking on the door to say ‘hey, we remembered you this year’.”
McFarlin is also looking for donations of Christmas blankets and cards. She says anyone who is willing can drop off the items on December 25.
The volunteers present at the event will be masked and gloved during the preparation of the meals. And all leftovers will be handed over to local homeless shelters.
Supplies were ordered with help from the Marq Supper Club in De Pere, and potatoes were cooked at Crisis Cafe in Green Bay.