As an estimated 100 volunteers prepared or delivered approximately 300 Christmas meals on Thursday from the Damascus Way Home for Women and Children, assistant director Sylvia Dunn quoted the Sandi Patti song "The Gift Goes On" to describe why she participates:
"The Father gave the Son/the Son gave the Spirit/the Spirit gives us life/so we can give the gift of love."
While the motivation is communal for Dunn, it's personal for Mae Washington, a retired educator.
Washington has been one of the project's coordinators for 16 straight years, all but the first one. She also helps a similar effort at the Valley Rescue Mission on Thanksgiving.
"It takes care of a void," she said. Then she explained.
She and her late husband, John Washington, who was principal of the former Talbotton Road Junior High School, used to conduct a Bible study for Damascus Way residents as an outreach with their church, St. John AME.
"After he died in 1998," she said, "in deference to him, that's the reason I come."
The reason Damascus Way got involved, Dunn said, is to give the Meals On Wheels volunteers the day off. So this place of shelter doubles as a staging area to reduce hunger on the holiday.
The food comes from direct donations or is bought with donated money, Dunn said. Each meal includes turkey, ham, dressing, sweet potatoes, green beans, cranberry sauce, a roll and a dessert -- served hot and with heaping helpings of love.
Dunn smiled and said, "This is what Christmas is about."
Mark Rice, 706-576-6272. Follow Mark on Twitter@MarkRiceLE.