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United Methodist dinner serves over 300

One of the many children who came to the dinner. All children went home with special bags of toys, mittens, hats and scarves. Photo submitted1 / 2
A group of guests sorts through the mounds of scarves, mittens and hats at the Hudson United Methodist Church Christmas Day dinner. Submitted photo2 / 2

The Hudson United Methodist Church served over 300 people for the first of what may become an annual Christmas Day dinner.

Over 100 volunteers (some from other churches) took time away from their Christmas Day celebrations to experience what Methodist Pastor Rev. Bruce Stunkard called "radical hospitality" on Christmas Day.

The theme was "It's Going to be a Blue Christmas without You!" People were invited to share a free Christmas Day dinner prepared by the volunteers. Two professional chefs who attend Hudson United Methodist - Chad Trainor and Brad Nordeen - supervised the kitchen. The menu included baked ham, mashed potatoes and all the trimmings, served to people who might not eat so well otherwise.

Those in attendance received bags of groceries, hats, mittens, scarves, frozen turkeys, candy, cookies, breads, toothbrushes and toothpaste, combs, toys, stuffed bears, beanie babies, games, colors, etc -- all from a variety of donors.

"We treated this as if we are serving Jesus," said Stunkard.

The feast, complete with live music, was served in the dining room of the church at 1401 Laurel Ave.

"I believe Christ was in our midst," Stunkard says. "We didn't do it just because we're nice people, but because Jesus' birth has made a difference in our lives."

Invitations to the dinner were posted at various places that serve low-income people.