‘It’s a fellowship’ Community Christmas dinner brings Eurekans together

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

The ECHO community room burst with

sights, sounds and scents at Flint Street

Food Bank’s annual community Christmas

dinner Monday morning.

Flint Street hosts community meals on

Thanksgiving and Christmas every year at

ECHO, relying on a couple in the community

to help manage the meal and all its

volunteers. This year, Jan and Nile Carrothers

were that couple. Jan said there

were plenty of volunteers this year, saying

cook Rich Goodyear helped create a meal

that included turkey, ham, jambalaya, vegetables,

salad, pasta salad and desserts.

“It’s a very joyous occasion,” Jan said.

“We have a Lutheran minister who says

our grace now before the meal. This is a

Christian organization, and we’ll serve

possibly 100 today … somewhere between

80 and 100. We’ll have a full meal

and anything that’s left, we let them take

it home.”

Goodyear said he’s happy to cook for

the community, remembering when he

moved to Carroll County after escaping

Hurricane Katrina. His family had nothing

but an empty trailer home, Goodyear said,

but that didn’t last long.

“We were about to go to Walmart to get

some air mattresses, and the next thing you

know, there’s a knock at the door,” Goodyear

said. “Someone’s coming in bringing

us linens and towels and everything.

Someone’s bringing us food. They’re

bringing in a TV and a microwave and a

couch, and in five hours, we had a fully

set-up place.”

He continued, “I was so overwhelmed

with all the help we got. I just felt like paying

back.”

Flint Street hosts lunch on Tuesdays

and Thursdays, and Goodyear cooks there

once a month, too.

“I’m humbled in a way. I don’t mind

doing what I’m doing,” Goodyear said. “I

don’t like to make a big deal out of it.”

Jan said she’s grateful to Goodyear for

his help and to all volunteers who donated

food, time or money to the dinner.

“It makes us happy when the world is

full of generosity,” Jan said.

Sherry Lewis came to the dinner with

her friend Albert Wolfe, driving from

Cassville, Mo., to attend. Lewis said she

and her friend brought desserts and bread,

saying they helped cut the cakes and pies

and placed them on the dessert table.

“This is our second year we’ve come,

and we’re friends with Albert and we

asked him if he wanted to come help,”

Lewis said. “It’s been fun. We like it.”

Wolfe said he enjoyed seeing so many

people celebrating Christmas together,

saying he didn’t mind contributing to the

dinner.

“I’m happy to give,” Wolfe said.

“It’s great,” Lewis agreed. “I’m happy

about that, very happy.”

Nile Carrothers said he has been part of

Flint Street’s board of directors for four

years.

“We come up every Christmas and

help put this on. It’s a combination of

ECHO and Flint Street, and it’s all volunteer-

based,” Nile said. “It’s great. We’ll

probably feed 100 people here, and all of

them are not just needy.”

He continued, “A lot of people are coming

because there’s not a restaurant open,

but they want to get together with someone

for Christmas cheer. It’s a fellowship.

It’s a community dinner. Everybody’s welcome,

and everybody should come. We’re

happy to have them. Merry Christmas, and

a happy new year.”

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