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Hundreds of volunteers distribute over one thousand holiday meals

Hundreds volunteer to distribute 1100 holiday meals
Published: Dec. 24, 2021 at 6:31 PM EST
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Hundreds gathered today to do their part in making Christmas a little brighter for lonely and needy neighbors as well as first responders.

Brunches at Randall cooked up the meals and volunteers with the Cape Fear Volunteer Center helped distribute them.

But this partnership started long before Christmas Eve.

When everything essentially shut down because of COVID-19, Brunches owner Danny McPherson managed to keep all of his staff on payroll.

“They all volunteered and said, ‘hey, what can we do?’” McPherson said.

That’s when the restaurant teamed up with the Cape Fear Volunteer Center.

Brunches would cook the meals.

“Every day we were preparing between one to three or four-hundred meals,” he said.

Annie Anthony with the Cape Fear Volunteer Center would coordinate getting those meals to those who needed it most.

“We would provide the volunteers and who needed the food,” Anthony said. “We would deliver it — sometimes every week, sometimes three times a week.”

The two groups continued to work together even after things opened back up.

“We would find one-off events to do together,” Anthony said.

But this Christmas Eve is one of the “biggest one-day ones we’ve done together,” she said.

More than 250 volunteers helped distribute 1,100 meals to neighbors in the community.

“My team of cooks were here at 4:30 this morning,” McPherson said. “Three or four days of work have gone into this.”

Serving up good food.

“We did a fun little holiday alfredo — chicken alfredo with some turkey, roasted red peppers and sautéed spinach,” McPherson said.

And serving up Christmas spirit.

“It’s just important. You know we’re all experiencing hard times, but it just brings a little holiday spirit to be able to give back to those in need,” he said.

Anthony said that Wilmington comes out in full force to volunteer around the holidays.

“Everybody wants to do between Thanksgiving and Christmas — I call it my Super Bowl,” she said. “Tomorrow I’m going to put my feet up and January I’m going to relax because Wilmington is crazy when it comes to volunteering and the holidays — they love it. And it’s like that after a hurricane: our people come out and they came out again this year.”

Those interested in volunteering year-round can go to the organization’s website to get connected with volunteer opportunities.

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