MASSENA - An annual event that has been around for approximately nine years will make its return on Christmas Day.
Gerald R. Roy Amvets Post 4, 12 Andrews St., Massena, will once again open its doors and invite the community in that afternoon for a full-fledged turkey dinner with all the trimmings.
Theyve been doing it for a long while, according to Commander Francis Bud Byington, who said the meal has been offered well before he started his term as commander three years ago.
Its just what we do. Its something to give back to the community. If they want to come, theyre welcome, Mr. Byington said.
Tuesdays meal, which runs from 1 - 4 p.m., includes turkey breast, mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy, cranberries, squash, dinner rolls and pumpkin pie - all for free and open to anyone.
We buy it, and the Auxiliary cooks it. The Auxiliary does all the food, he said.
Theyll be ready to feed an army, with 26 turkey breasts and 150 pounds of potatoes.
We have huge turkey breasts. Theres no waste to them. We used to get regular turkeys. When they were all done, people were fighting over the bones, Mr. Byington said.
Its the season for giving and thats exactly what the members of the Amvets and their Auxiliary will be doing on Christmas, whether its peeling the potatoes or cooking, manning the kitchen and the serving line or hitting the road to make deliveries.
We have a good crew. Theyve been volunteering right and left. We have a sign-up list for people to bring pies and stuff like that. We have a sign-up list for people to do deliveries. It works out real good. They seem to be glad to do it. They started calling me about three or four weeks ago and said, Are you going to need help down there? Everybody chips in and helps out, he said.
Many people enjoy the holiday conversation and their meal at the Amvets post.
Its surprising some of the people who come. Its people from all walks. Ive seen people in there that own a business, but they feel rather than cook theyd rather have somebody else cook it, Mr. Byington said.
For others who arent able to get out, delivery drivers will be available. Deliveries can be arranged by calling 764-0686.
They also make sure on-duty members of local organizations like the Massena Police Department, Massena Fire Department and Massena Volunteer Rescue Squad also receive meals.
We make sure they all get it, Mr. Byington said.
And whatever food is left over is also put to good use, with the Amvets delivering it to the residents of Valehaven Home for Adults.
We call her ahead of time and let her know. Boy, theyre waiting for it too, he said. The last time we took it in there, people were sitting there and they jumped right up.