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Annual Shepherd’s Feast planning underway, in need of volunteers

Members of the community enjoy their holiday meal at last year’s  Shepherd’s Feast. Founder of the event, Ross Fox, hopes to reach even more people in the community at this year’s feast. (Photo by Elaine Pearsons)

Members of the community enjoy their holiday meal at last year’s
Shepherd’s Feast. Founder of the event, Ross Fox, hopes to reach even more people in the community at this year’s feast. (Photo by Elaine Pearsons)

by Alissa Fiorillo
alissa.fiorillo@tryondailybulletin.com

Preparations for the annual Shepherd’s Feast have already begun. Last year volunteers served close to 400 meals on Christmas day, and this year event coordinator and founder, Ross Fox, is determined to serve even more.

“I have a goal to serve close to 500 meals this year,” Fox states. “I want everyone to know that they are all invited.”

Fox stresses that he is not limiting the invitation to those who may not have a place to spend the holiday. “This event is not for the needy, this is not a soup kitchen,” he claims. “This is just a place to come and enjoy the food and celebrate the spirit of Christmas, whether you have no place to go or if you just don’t want to cook.”

The idea that led to this event came to Fox years ago after he volunteered to serve Christmas dinner at an event in Hendersonville. “I volunteered because I had nothing else to do for the holiday,” he explains. “I was paired to work with a widowed lady who told me that this event filled a void for her, that if it weren’t for this dinner she wouldn’t have a Christmas.”

When Fox thought about his own family that he had lost, he realized how fulfilling it was to have given his time and service. “I thought, ‘This should be something we do in our community, this could be good for this area.’”

In addition to serving dinner, entertainment will be provided at the Shepherd’s Feast by musicians Phil and Gay Johnson. Fox also hopes that St. Nick himself will be able to make an appearance.

“We had a large turnout of children last year and we always have a Santa and give gifts that were donated to any child that comes to the door,” he states.

So far Fox has been unable to find a Santa to volunteer at this year’s feast. “We are in desperate need of volunteers to help with all parts of this event,” he says. “It’s very important that we get volunteers in order to make this happen.”

Fox says he is looking for prep-day volunteers on Dec. 23 to do kitchen work, cut turkeys and clean. Volunteers are needed on Christmas day to help prepare food, serve and wash dishes.

“I’m hoping a lot of people come out again this year,” says Fox. “If anybody needs a ride to the feast, I will be happy to come pick them up to take them. This is a really great way to share the joy of Christmas.”

The Shepherd’s Feast will be held on Christmas day at Polk County Middle School from 1-4 p.m. Anyone interested in volunteering should contact Ross Fox at 828-859-9979. Those willing to donate new and unwrapped toys can drop them off at the middle school on Dec. 23 between 12-3 p.m.