Shepherd’s Feast: Indulging in community

Published 11:12 pm Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Tables fill at the 2012 Shepherd's Feast. This year the event will once again be held on Christmas Day at Polk County Middle School from 1-4 p.m. (photo by Elaine Pearsons)

Tables fill at the 2012 Shepherd’s Feast. This year the event will once again be held on Christmas Day at Polk County Middle School from 1-4 p.m. (photo by Elaine Pearsons)

As visions of sugarplums, piping hot turkey and dressing or your aunt’s perfect spinach and artichoke dip dance through your head, consider a feast of community as part of your holiday traditions too.

For years now, community members have gathered together at Polk County Middle School’s cafeteria to take part in the Shepherd’s Feast.

From 1-4 p.m. on Christmas Day the entire community is invited to a free meal.

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The only catch is that organizer Ross Fox needs two things to continue pulling off this friendly event – volunteers and donations.

“This is a strictly social event where people who want to socialize with other people can come and enjoy the spirit of Christmas with their neighbors,” Fox said. “No one should hesitate to come because they aren’t of a certain faith, economic status or race.”

Volunteers also shouldn’t hesitate to offer their time even if they can only offer an hour or two the day before Christmas Eve. Volunteers are needed every year to assist Fox with preparation of the meal.

Prep work will take place Dec. 23 around noon and will last until dishes and other tasks are completed. Volunteers are also needed for Christmas Day to wait tables and work in the kitchen washing dishes, as well as cleaning up after the guests leave.

Donations of money and new, unwrapped gifts for children are appreciated to make sure the tree has plenty of presents underneath for any child who comes with their families.

“The one thing people get teary-eyed over is that we collect toys and we have an assigned Santa Claus who will give out the gifts to all the children who come through the door,” Fox said.

Jim Jackson and his wife, Sheila, often work the door on the day of the feast.

“We know that there are a lot of people that do not have places to go on Christmas,” Jackson said. “We have our own family Christmas too. But we find great joy and find that Ross’ spirit is so great that there is no way we can’t volunteer.”

Ross said Jim and his wife immediately evoke the spirit he hopes to achieve with the event.

“I put him at the door because he knows everybody,” Fox said. “The whole thing is about creating an atmosphere of family and warmth. Jim certainly does that – he’s at the door shaking hands.”

Phil and Gaye Johnson, meanwhile, will add to the festivities by providing music from 1-2 p.m. Music will continue throughout the afternoon as well.

“I am so pleased with them stepping forward to offer that entertainment. We really want people to come and have a good time,” Fox said.

If you are interested in volunteering, Ross Fox can be reached at 828-859-9979.

Donations may be sent to:

Shepherd’s Feast

P.O. Box 1481

Tryon, N.C. 28782