WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - No matter how close or far away your family is, there’s one place everyone is welcome on Christmas Eve.
Each year, Pine Valley United Methodist Church serves thousands of meals across the community.
Dinner is served at the church and meals are also delivered to shelters, nursing homes and fire stations.
In 2006, the outreach ministry began when two parents wanted to show their three children the meaning of giving during the Christmas season.
In the first year, 250 meals were served, but now the event has grown. Church leaders estimate they handed out nearly 5,000 meals last year. As you can imagine, it takes a lot of leg work to make it all happen.
“Several, several months of a team planning and having volunteer sheets and announcing it and folks bringing in goods for us to prepare,” Rev. Kim Collins said.
Dinner was served at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the church’s fellowship hall. Meals were also picked up at the church from ten in the morning until 4:30 p.m.
George Hale founded Christmas Eve Outreach 13 years ago and has seen it continually grow every year. He believes that this kind of public service is “what we’re supposed to do as human beings. We’re supposed to serve others and if nothing else, if we don’t give somebody some joy for one minute, then the world would be a better place.”
Hale says that through this event, he can make an example of the core principles and values of the Christmas season. Making sure that no family goes hungry in Wilmington over Christmas was Hale’s original vision for the event and he maintains that that mission has remained intact.
“The world would be a better place if everybody thought about someone else besides themselves for one minute and that idea is pretty impactful,” he said.