ST. MARYS, Pa. (WTAJ) — The tables are set at First United Methodist Church for the St. Marys Christmas Day Happening, but six months ago, the tradition was at risk of not happening at all.
It’s an empty room now, but soon, seated at the Christmas-clad tables will be dozens of people ready for a warm meal and the company of others.
“It started 25 years ago by Vada Liptak and Shirley Alexander, who were both members of the Methodist church,” Co-chair, Carol Cunningham said. “They just decided it was needed in the area.”
Liptak passed away earlier this year, leaving the Christmas Day Happening Volunteers in search of a leader.
“I was ready to co-chair again, but I did not want to be leader, and then Ed Schlimm stepped up,” Cunningham said.
“It’s a great thing and I wanted to keep it going,” Schlimm said.
Schlimm says he decided he’d be the one to keep the tradition going.
“I had reservations at first,” Schlimm said. “It’s outside of my comfort zone, but like I said, everyone’s been wonderful, so it’s helped a lot.”
Starting at 12:30 Christmas Day, they’ll deliver and serve nearly 300 meals to those most in need of comfort, company, and Christmas cheer.
“We have turkey and ham and all the trimmings,” Cunningham said.
Organizers do ask for a reservation in advance; however, they will not turn anyone away.