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Amvets Post 4 ready to cook up Christmas feast in Massena

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MASSENA — An annual event that has been around for about nine years will make its return on Christmas Day.

Gerald R. Roy Amvets Post 4 will open its doors to the community Tuesday afternoon for a free turkey dinner with all the trimmings.

“They’ve been doing it for a long while,” said Commander Francis “Bud” Byington, who said the meal has been offered since well before he started his term as commander three years ago.

“It’s just what we do. It’s something to give back to the community. If they want to come, they’re welcome,” he said.

Tuesday’s meal, which runs from 1 to 4 p.m. at the post, 12 Andrews St., features turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy, cranberries, squash, dinner rolls and pumpkin pie.

“We buy it, and the auxiliary cooks it. The auxiliary does all the food,” Mr. Byington said.

The post will be ready to feed an army, with 26 turkey breasts and 150 pounds of potatoes.

“We have huge turkey breasts. There’s no waste to them. We used to get regular turkeys; when they were all done, people were fighting over the bones,” Mr. Byington said.

It’s the season for giving, and that’s what the members of the post and its auxiliary will be doing on Christmas, whether it’s peeling the potatoes, cooking, manning the kitchen and serving line or hitting the road to make deliveries.

“We have a good crew. They’ve been volunteering right and left. ... 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,” Mr. Byington said.

Many people enjoy the holiday conversation along with their meals at the Amvets post.

“It’s surprising some of the people who come. It’s people from all walks. I’ve seen people in there that own a business, but they feel rather than cook, they’d rather have somebody else cook it,” Mr. Byington said.

For those who aren’t able to get out, deliveries can be arranged by calling 764-0686.

The post also makes sure on-duty members of the Massena police, Fire Department and Rescue Squad receive meals. “We make sure they all get it,” Mr. Byington said.

Whatever food is left over is delivered to residents of Valehaven Home for Adults.

“Boy, they’re waiting for it, too,” Mr. Byington said. “The last time we took it in there, people were sitting there and they jumped right up.”

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