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East Bluff Community Center hosts sixth annual Christmas dinner


A lot of people are spending time at home with their families on Christmas, but the East Bluff...
A lot of people are spending time at home with their families on Christmas, but the East Bluff Community Center made sure those who didn’t get that chance were taken care of.(WEEK/Heart of Illinois ABC)
Published: Dec. 25, 2021 at 6:15 PM CST
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PEORIA (25 NEWS) - A lot of people are spending time at home with their families on Christmas, but the East Bluff Community Center made sure those who didn’t get that chance were taken care of.

They hosted their sixth annual Christmas dinner Saturday where guests got to enjoy ham, turkey, stuffing, mac and cheese, desserts and more.

Coordinator Evonne Fleming said it’s a way for those to celebrate the holiday, even if they can’t do it with their loved ones or afford a Christmas meal.

“Nobody wants to be alone on Christmas day, and if you don’t have to, this is a chance for you to interact with other people,” Fleming said.

“Maybe people you don’t know, and then some that you do, you know-make new friends.” Fleming added.

Willa Lucas is the community center’s food pantry coordinator and has held the role since they opened in 2015.

Lucas said it’s a joy to do something positive in the community during the holidays.

“This is my family at Christmas,” Lucas said.

“I’ve got two kids, one of them was in the Detroit area, one’s down by Decatur,” she continued. “The traffic is terrible. So sort of established this as the tradition for Christmas day.”

Lucas said Christmas day is about bringing everyone together.

“I’m getting goosebumps when I talk about how for this one day, race doesn’t matter, economic circumstance doesn’t matter,” Lucas said. “Nothing matters except we’re here for Christmas day,” she added.

Fleming said any leftover food will head to the Peoria Rescue Mission where dozens more can enjoy their own holiday meal.

“Some of those guys that are down there, we know that it’s mostly men that are there at the Rescue Mission,” Fleming said.

“And most of them are homeless, so this is a way to get them a decent meal on Christmas day too,” Fleming added.

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