For the 19th straight year, a group of local volunteers organized the Westchester Christmas Dinner, an event that gives needy families and individuals a holiday meal, as well as toys for the kids.
“We’re just trying to do our part to feed those in need in the county,” said Licia Sandberg, one of the co-coordinators of the event along with Ben Harvey. “We ask around to different shelters and community centers all throughout Westchester to ask if they might have any families or anyone who might need some help this holiday season, and then we invite them.”
At Tuesday’s event at St. Mary's in Katonah, more than 300 volunteers helped to prepare and serve food, entertain, organize the event and hand out toys to the kids in the crowd. The event has a “junior elf” volunteer position for teenagers and positions working in the kitchen that are appropriate for elementary school-aged kids.
“Not only do I think it’s important to do this on holidays to help out others, but I have two young boys,” Sandberg said. “It’s important for my children and the children in the community to learn about giving back and volunteering for a good cause.”
Along with toys, winter clothing is given out as gifts, and many families leaving Tuesday did so with leftover food as well.
The organizers also worked with Suburban Carting this year for the first time, according to Sandberg, to compost and recycle after the event. Suburban Carting donated a dumpster and will take away the waste.