TOWN OF BELOIT

Volunteers at Higher Ground Christian Center were in the giving spirit Christmas Day, dishing up turkey and dressing to hand out to those who wanted a meal.

They were even out delivering meals to those who couldn’t get to the center at 3160 S. Park Ave.

“They started calling for deliveries at about 10 a.m.” even though the drive-thru hours weren’t supposed to start until 11 a.m., the Rev. Sherrick Anderson said. “It’s a good thing we were ready for them.”

Anderson said he and members of the church were happy to take orders early.

Only about a half-hour after the event started, they already had given out nearly 50 dinners. By 3 p.m. about 175 people had arrived to collect meals, and about 50 more had been delivered to homes in the Beloit area.

The volunteers, who were members of the church, arrived at about 8:30 a.m. to set up the food and other giveaways.

“Some people were cooking all night,” said Lahoma Anderson, the pastor’s wife.

In addition to the meals, the church was giving away gift cards from area restaurants, such as Chick-fil-A, and toys and games for children. They also gave away bags filled with candy, bracelets and earrings.

As church members handed meals through car windows, everyone offered a “Merry Christmas” greeting.

“There was a whole lot of love,” Lahoma Anderson said.

Also during the event, the Andersons posted a Facebook Live video telling people to come to the church to collect a free meal.

The church hosted the dinner in 2018 and 2019 as an in-person meal where people could come into the church and sit down with friends and family. The meal was canceled in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but rather than cancel it again this year, church members decided to pass out meals to those who drove up to the church and deliver them to those who couldn’t.

The event was made possible thanks to the volunteers and many sponsors who either donated funds or food for the Christmas Day meal.

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