Harvest Outreach Christmas Dinner Brings The Community Together

Harvest Outreach Christmas Dinner Brings The Community Together

By Charles Oliver – Dec 23, 2017

Debby East and Craig Tyndall perform during the Harvest Outreach community Christmas dinner Saturday. Photo: Matt Hamilton/Daily Citizen-News

When Harvest Outreach began its Christmas dinner 31 years ago, it was aimed at the homeless, but it has opened the dinner up to the entire community.

Shortly before Christmas in 1986, Shelia Reed was sitting in church when she felt the Lord calling her.

“I felt him calling me to put together a community Christmas dinner for those in need,” she said.

She started calling people, and they began to volunteer time and effort and it quickly fell together.

The dinner was well attended and Reed recalled one elderly lady in particular.

“She held my hand and said, ‘I’ve been praying for something like this for so long,'” she recalled.

That marked the beginning of Harvest Outreach, a Dalton-based ministry that serves the homeless and those in need. Reed serves as its executive director.

And on Saturday, Harvest Outreach held its 31st annual Christmas dinner at American Legion Post 112 off Glenwood Avenue.

“We started out, we were focused on the feeding the homeless,” she recalled. “But we opened it up to the entire community because there are so many elderly people, shut-ins and others who can’t afford a full Christmas dinner or can’t cook one or who just don’t have anyone to share it with.”

Dalton residents Sara and Bill Smith say they aren’t homeless but are on a fixed income.

“It doesn’t make sense for us to make a big meal just for the two of us,” said Sara. “This is so wonderful. We get to have a full meal. We don’t have to spend the day alone. And I don’t have to clean up afterwards.”

Those who attended the event got a full traditional holiday meal with ham, chicken and dressing, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes and more. And they listened to live gospel music while they ate.

Reed says Harvest Outreach served more than 400 at Christmas last year.

Sharon Wassermann was among the volunteers who helped put on the event.

“I know what it is like to go through hardships, but I have been so blessed over the last year, I just wanted to come out and give back,” she said.

Danny Gaddy drove from Ringgold to volunteer.

“My wife heard they were going to be helping a lot of people here today,” he said. “We don’t have a lot of family obligations now and we like to help out so we thought we would come down. We came early, and we’ve been helping with the food preparation, getting things out, really whatever has been needed.”


Harvest Outreach Video


Harvest Outreach Christmas Dinner Brings The Community Together

By Charles Oliver – charlesoliver






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