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Free Christmas lunch in Ottawa planned for this weekend

A select few in Ottawa want to ensure everyone has a Christmas meal this year.

Randall Repp used to transport diners to and from their homes when community dinners were held in the past and wanted to start his own after another business stopped offering them.

“I would see the people as I picked them up and take them to the event and back home. They were so appreciative,” Repp said. “Something that will stick with me until the end of time is one family said they had nothing.”

Repp texted friends Bill Byczynski and Kathryn Duque who were immediately on board with hosting a lunch.

A free Christmas lunch is planned from noon to 3 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 16, at the Knights of Columbus Hall, 401 W. Main St.

Prime rib, turkey and ham will be the main items available for diners. Repp is hoping those who may not have a warm meal on Christmas will take advantage of the opportunity as well as those just looking for fellowship and are not able to celebrate the holiday with friends and family.

“If you’re just alone around the holidays, come on down,” he said.

Saxophone player Patrick Wilson will perform Christmas songs from 1 to 3 p.m. and a special visit from Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus is expected sometime before 2 p.m.

Repp said once word of the event got out a number of businesses chipped in to provide money for food as well as volunteers looking to assist during the event.

Repp said he has enough volunteers and expects to serve a large number of people after reaching out to most of the charitable organizations in the community to let them know where those looking for a meal can find one this weekend.

“I think we’re going to have a really good turnout,” Repp said.

“Unfortunately there’s a need but fortunately there are people to take care of it,” he added.

Free transport is also available. Repp asks that reservations for transport be made prior to 4 p.m. Friday, Dec. 14.

For more information or to arrange transport, call Repp at 815-341-4788.

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