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Make the Magic of Christmas Happen

Lend a hand to this year's Westchester Christmas Dinner—here's how.

Where will you be on Christmas Day? Gathered at home, with family and friends, opening gifts and sharing holiday meals?

Some of your neighbors in Westchester County will not be so lucky.

At least 300 of them will be boarding buses to attend the

The monumental effort that goes into dinner preparations is well underway. A core committee manages 13 team captains who coordinate the food, volunteers, supplies, donations, transportation, advertising and more. The goal is to provide a warm holiday experience for locals who are served by shelters throughout the county—and for others who have no one with whom to share Christmas.

How can you be a part? Here are the critical volunteer needs now, provided by the dinner committee:

Set-up Dec. 23

In the past, the John Jay Wrestling team ably handled this duty - this year, they will be in school. The dinner committee needs 3-4 strong people to help move donations of new clothes and toys from the St. Mary's rectory to the Montfort School building in Katonah from 10 a.m. - noon. Great for college students home on break, or a team of, say, personal trainers from one of our local fitness centers?

Adopt-a-Donation Box

The perfect opportunity to introduce children to service, "adopt-a-box" means you and your family would be in charge of one donation box from Dec. 10 - 23. There will be 5 or more of these boxes to adopt. They'll be sturdy bins around Katonah, Bedford, Mount Kisco and Chappaqua at dedicated locations so people can leave donations of new clothes and toys. Each of these boxes needs to be emptied on a regular basis, and the donations from the boxes need to end up at the rectory at St. Mary's. Responsibilities include checking the boxes a couple of times per week, making sure they are in their proper location, maintained, and emptied often enough that there is space in the boxes for ongoing donations. This is a job one person can do, but also a great opportunity for a family that wants to split the duties up.

Media Relations on Dec. 25

The committee is looking for an assertive individual with great people skills to be at the dinner to assist media with story gathering while still respecting the privacy concerns of guests.

Donate

And we always always always welcome donations of new clothes and toys, and money.  The operation is all-volunteer, and relies extensively on donated food and supplies, but there are always a short list of things we simply have to buy. Having a cash reserve, albeit a small one, ensures we can meet every last need of our guests when they are with us for those precious three hours on Christmas Day.

Check the Christmas Dinner website for the very latest volunteer and donation requests. Serving food is gratifying for volunteers but many important and valuable "behind-the-scenes" tasks to be done on Dec. 23-24 setting up, and Dec. 26-27 clearing out.

For more information, visit the Westchester Christmas Dinner online.

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