Christ Centered Community Church in Johnstown is on an assignment.
“Our assignment that God has given us is to give love and hope to those who are hurting and to those who may feel left out,” said Brandon King, minister of music.
To fulfill the calling, the church on Wednesday opened its doors at 531 Somerset St. for the fourth annual Community Christmas Dinner.
About 100 people turned out as volunteers swerved ham, turkey, potatoes, green beans, corn, bread and desserts donated by local businesses.
Beneath the sparkle of a Christmas tree, children sang and opened gifts bags stuffed with food and toys that also were donated. Because of the contributions, the event was free.
“This is a place to come and have company on Christmas,” Cambria County Commissioner Tom Chernisky said. “I’m glad they allow me to be part of it every year.”
John Preston lives nearby at Vine Street Towers. With no family, he spends most holidays alone.
On this day he was glad to have company.
“My neighbor said they were having dinner out here,” said Preston, 51. “I said OK, I’ll try it. The people are nice and the food is great.”
Preston said he hopes to return next year.
“It’s nice for people who have nothing,” he said. “Otherwise I would be sitting in front of the TV eating crackers.”
No child walked away empty handed. No one went away hungry.
“That’s what the season is all about,” King said. “It’s about loving those who are the least and the last and the left out.”
Patrick Buchnowski is a reporter with The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/PatBuchnowskiTD.