After four years of holding the traditional Christmas meal at Living Free Ministries, this year’s event is moving to a new location at Alcorn Central High School. The Alcorn Central cafeteria will open around 10:30 a.m. for the sit-down meal which will continue until roughly 3:30 p.m.
The meal is a time for the Crossroads area to come together to share a meal and the meaning of Christmas, said Marea Wilson, who works throughout the year to help the community with her husband Tommy at Corinth’s Living Free Ministries, a faith-based addiction recovery center in Corinth.
“The Christmas Day meal has nothing to do with addiction,” said Marea. “One thing I love is when you come out there, you don’t know who’s there because they’re hungry, who’s there because they’re lonely or who’s there because they’re helping. Everybody is there together, talking and mingling and working. It’s a lot of fellowship, and I’m so excited about it.”
Before the sit-down meal at Alcorn Central begins, event organizers will deliver at least 400 plates to the Alcorn County Justice Center to feed state and local inmates, as well as employees on duty on Christmas Day.
“Last year we fed the people at the jail, but it was kind of an afterthought. This year, we’re doing that on the front end,” said Marea. “We want to make sure they get a good meal. We’ve lined it up to where they’ll look at the person, hand them the meal and say, ‘Merry Christmas. We’re praying for you.’”
Marea said event organizers have received many calls from people volunteering to help and expressing their gratitude for the effort to include the prisoners in the Christmas Day meal. Some of those callers have family members in the jail now. Some have had family members in jail on a past Christmas. And some have family members in jails across the state.
“One lady has someone in prison that’s not in our town, but she wants to help because she knows what it’s like,” said Marea. “She was just very thankful and thought it was very sweet we wanted to include the prisoners. To me, that’s so important. There are some people who deserve to be in jail, but most are good people who’ve made a lot of mistakes.”
The community has stepped up in a big way to make the Christmas Day meal a success, Maria said, an outpouring of food and donations, with people signing up to help in any way they can.
“It’s amazing the way the community has reached out, it’s really amazing,” she said.
With the high level of interest the community has shown in the meal, and with the extra responsibilities organizers have taken on in deciding to feed the prisoners, the 2016 Christmas Day meal is shaping up to be the biggest production yet for organizers.
“This year it’s going to be on such a bigger scale,” said Marea. “I’m anxious to see how it all comes together. I think it’s going to be great.”
(For more information contact Marea Wilson at 643-7298 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling Alcorn Central High School at 286-8720.)