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Local women prepare to serve spirit of Christmas

| Wednesday, Dec. 26, 2012, 9:03 p.m.

Heather Wilcox and Stacey Piper first met when they both worked at the same grocery store years ago. Recently the pair met again when they joined the same church.

On Christmas Eve, the two will put together a meal for those in the community in need of a place to share the spirit of Christmas.

“It is a time of year to reach out to those who have less,” said Wilcox of Ligonier. “For many people, Christmas is a time of sorrow. Many are unable to buy presents for their children and are struggling to provide a home-cooked meal for their families. Many are alone or sad because loved ones cannot come home for Christmas.”

Wilcox said the free dinner includes friendly company, Christmas carol singing and a gift for the children. The menu includes ham, stuffing, potatoes, vegetables, cookies, cakes and beverages.

The organizers want people to know the dinner is not a church-based function. However, the Ligonier Valley Bible Church, located at the corner of Grant and Bunger streets in Ligonier, is providing the kitchen and dining hall as a donation to the community for the Christmas dinner celebration. The meal will be served 1 to 4 p.m. Monday.

Piper of Latrobe said she first had the idea after trying to volunteer at a soup kitchen for Thanksgiving last year and could not find one in the area.

“My husband had to work for Thanksgiving, so instead of making dinner for myself and my children, I wanted to help in a soup kitchen. “We did not get it together in time for Thanksgiving so we decided to do something for Christmas this year.”

They named the event “Everyone Together for Christmas.”

“We are not offering a soup kitchen kind of place, it's not like that,” said Wilcox. “This is for people who are all alone for Christmas and want to join us for the meal.

We know there are single moms out there that may not have a family to share the holiday or their family is out of state. We know there are elderly people who have no family close by to share Christmas with. We just want to get together with them.”

They are reaching out to anyone in the community who needs company for Christmas.

“We decided to put our heads together and come up with a way to serve the Ligonier community for Christmas,” said Wilcox. “We both know people outside of our family that are struggling.”

Last Christmas, the Wilcox family shared the holiday with someone who had no family in the area and had no where to go for Christmas.

“We want to help people and we discovered there was no place like this for people to go in Ligonier,” said Wilcox.

The Piper family knows what it feels like to be on the receiving end of a giving experience.

“We needed help at Christmas time in the past and I know how much it means to be in that position to have someone help you,” said Piper. “I want to pass it on to help others in that situation too.”

Wilcox and Piper are collecting small gifts for any children that may be attending so they have a gift to take home.

Wilcox's husband David has offered to pick up anyone who needs a ride to and from the dinner.

Food has been donated by friends and a number of churches in the community.

Volunteers are welcome and should arrive at 11 a.m. Monday to help prepare for the guests. Volunteers are asked to wear red shirts and black pants. Santa hats are also a nice touch,

“We already have many volunteers, including a group of teens from Ligonier Valley High School and a group of home school teens,” said Wilcox. “We are hoping for a good turn out.”

Wilcox said they will be ready to serve five or 100 people.

“After all, that's what Christmas is all about,” said Piper.

“Our goal is to be a blessing to others,” said Wilcox.

For more information about the dinner, call Wilcox at 724-516-2626 or Piper at 724-961-2070.

Deborah A. Brehun is a staff editor for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-238-2111 or

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