Christmas is a time for bright lights, holiday greetings, shopping, family gatherings, and the list goes on and on. One of the most important Christmas remembrances is that of the baby Jesus and the reason for the season. This year's season is unlike any other. The pandemic has taken lives, livelihoods, and life as we know it.
There’s a Paducah nonprofit organization that's working hard to spread a little cheer this holiday with the project Season’s Eatings. In collaboration with a few area businesses and other nonprofit groups, Project Pomona, a local organization is planning to provide food for those in need by feeding 1,000 people on Christmas Eve.
Owner of Fresh Foodies Mindy Carroll is one of the partner businesses. Carroll said, “We are one of the pickup locations. There are four so we should have around 250 meals. Our goal is 1,000 total meals for the day.”
Bryant Hileman is the organizer of the event and founder of Project Pomona. The nonprofit typically provides free weekly meals at the library. Due to the pandemic, those meals have stopped. Wanting to do something special for Christmas, Season’s Eatings was born.
The meals will be given on a first-come first-serve basis. The four locations are Fresh Foodies at 532 Nroth 32nd Street, the McCracken County Public Library at 555 Washington Street, Paducah Beer Werks at 301 North Fourth Street, and Family Service Society at 827 Joe Clifton Drive. Meals will be available by walk-up or drive-thru. The main thing is to wear your masks and practice social distancing.
Fresh Foodies will be cooking and donating the sides. Carroll said, “I have collected donations to pay for the food and will be serving green beans, cornbread casserole, and rolls. We’ll begin providing the meals at 11 am on Christmas Eve.” Carroll said this is the fourth of fifth time Fresh Foodies has participated in events like this one.
There will be a team of volunteers 'slow-cooking' a variety of meats at Kirchhoff’s Bakery the day before the event. The meat is paid for by funds collected by Hileman’s efforts. Fresh produce will be available at the library and canned goods donated from a Paducah Beer Works donation drive will be given out at the brewery.
The event’s coordinator, Hileman has nearly reached his collection goal of $1,500. If more is donated, there will be more meals to offer on Christmas Eve. If you’re interested in volunteering or contributing to the fund, go to the Seasons Eatings Project Pomona’s Facebook page.
Carroll’s business Fresh Foodies promotes healthy eating and her wish is for everyone to get a tasty, healthy meal. Carroll said, “I want to be a part of any opportunity to help the community with food insecurity.” Fresh Foodies has survived the second round of restaurant closings by thinking outside the box. She said, “We are breaking even and staying open!”
What a treasure it is to find those willing to push a little harder, spend an extra moment, and stretch their dollars and cents to help those in need. After all, that’s the true spirit of Christmas.