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Local

Streator community dinner looks for new host

Beau Boyles (far right) and Steve Biroschik (second from right) serve at Streator's Christmas dinner in 2016. Organizer Mary Sullivan is looking to pass the reins to another volunteer to oversee the annual free meal.
Beau Boyles (far right) and Steve Biroschik (second from right) serve at Streator's Christmas dinner in 2016. Organizer Mary Sullivan is looking to pass the reins to another volunteer to oversee the annual free meal.

Streator's free Community Christmas Dinner will still be offered this year, but the organizer is looking for a new helper to take over the reins in 2018.

Organizer and Bruce Township Assessor Mary Sullivan said she's looking for another organizer as she's moved out of town and it has become more difficult to be available when needed.

"It's just getting a little time consuming and space consuming," Sullivan said.

The dinner has grown over the past nine years and Sullivan said its current home at Bruce Township Hall is starting to get tight.

Sullivan estimates the dinner serves 500 guests, with about half being carryout orders. She said, "it's a big mix" when it comes to guests, with some being elderly looking to congregate, those looking to escape the cold for a warm meal and those without family for the holidays.

A number of dedicated volunteers help every year as well.

"Christmas Day is really cool, because everyone comes and everyone is in a good mood," Sullivan said. "People really want to be here to help and we have more than enough volunteers that like to come.

"And people don't even run away at the end of the day," she added. "They stay and help clean."

The dinner is funded solely through donations. The group lists items that are needed on a Facebook page.

Volunteers cook the turkeys ahead of time, 17 this year, and then put them in the freezers. They also use donated slow cookers and roasters as well as other necessary supplies for the holiday.

Everyone is welcome to attend and no reservation is necessary.

Sullivan said the work can be challenging but is ultimately rewarding.

"There's a lot involved but it's not impossible," Sullivan said.

For more information, call Sullivan at 815-673-2215 or visit fb.com/events/164601184124797.

This year's dinner will take place from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 25, at Bruce Township Hall, 216 N. Sterling St.

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