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Hundreds served meals on Christmas

Dec. 25, 2013 @ 11:47 PM

HUNTINGTON -- Hundreds of people didn't go hungry on Christmas thanks to the First Presbyterian Church in downtown Huntington and its many volunteers.

About 100 volunteers spent their holiday at the church working to prepare and serve meals to the homeless, elderly and less fortunate

"I'm a Christian and I'm supposed to serve others like Jesus did," said volunteer Anthony Panico. "We could be in the same situation."

A member of River Cities Community Church, he has been helping serve meals for the church's annual Christmas lunch for six years.

While Panico volunteers on his own following a Christmas Eve celebration with his family, many volunteers make the lunch a family affair.

Monty Fulton, who coordinates meal delivery, said his wife and children help prepare, serve and deliver meals as well as clean up after the dinner.

"Our family Christmas has become secondary to this," he said. "It's really special to see so many areas of the community coming together and sharing the joy of Christmas."

Russ Livingood was one of the earliest arriving volunteers, starting food preparation at 5 a.m.

It was his third year helping cook meals.

"Christmas, to me, is not about the gift-exchanging and everything," he said. "It's a season to help others and I wanted to help out."

David Nicholas, co-coordinator of the Christmas lunch, said the church has been serving meals to the hungry for more than 20 years.

"We have a lot of families that make this a part of their Christmas Day," he said. "It's usually very, very busy. There are a lot of hungry people on Christmas."

He said the church serves about 500 to 600 meals starting at 11 a.m. in the church's dining room. Volunteers also deliver about 150 meals throughout the county to individuals and families who qualify for them.

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