Beaver Falls churches and agencies provide Christmas meals to those in need

Two churches in Beaver Falls will be hosting a free Christmas dinner for residents in need.

Christian Assembly Church and Central United Methodist Church, with volunteer help from other local churches and community members, will be offering take-out dinners of homemade turkey and ham between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Christmas Day.

The distribution point, the Church of Central UMC at 1227 Sixth Ave., will also provide meal recipients with “blessing bags” containing gloves, hats, scarves, hygiene products, COVID masks, Gift certificates to the Save A Lot store in Beaver Falls and certificates for free bikes for each member of the Communicycle family in New Brighton.

“All we have been able to accumulate,” said Rebecca Ficca Salopek, Christian Assembly program co-chair.

Between 200 and 250 meals will be prepared, Salopek said.

The church’s similar Thanksgiving meal program drew 202 people.

“These are really needy people who come over there,” said Salopek. “We hope to help meet the needs at a very sorry time for a lot of people in the county.”

Christian Assembly's CARE Outreach Christmas dinners served up to 1,500 people.  Canceled last year due to Covid-19, dinners will be offered as take-out this year in partnership with the Central United Methodist Church in Beaver Falls.

Christian Assembly, through its CARE Outreach program, started the annual Christmas sit-down dinners 28 years ago, canceling those last year due to the pandemic. Central United Methodist has experience running a soup kitchen.

Both churches believed a take-out dinner program would be the best option this year, from a safety perspective.

The hope is that next year’s Christmas dinner can revert to a sit-down meal at the Beaver Falls area high school.

Agencies help

The Beaver County Salvation Army and Beaver County YMCA will also respond to needs this year.

The Salvation Army will be hosting a 3 p.m. Christmas dinner this Sunday at its Beaver Falls site at 414 16th St. This dinner on the Sunday before Christmas will combine on-site and take-out meals.

“We usually have between 50 and 100 people and more,” said Denise Martin, Beaver County region coordinator for the Salvation Army.

The Beaver County YMCA offers two programs, Christmas of Giving and Food Pantry Distributions. Christmas of Giving is providing families with Christmas presents and dinner, in partnership with the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank.

Christmas of Giving is Saturday, with families staying that day from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Y’s Life Center in Rochester Township. A light breakfast is offered by Café Kolache and children participate in activities. Lunch is picked up by Quality Time & Carryout in New Brighton with a Christmas message delivered. The families leave with a gift card for Aldi, a Christmas ham and a box of all the trimmings.

If anyone needs food, at any time of the year, they can contact YMCA Food Service Director John Merola at [email protected] or 724-891-8439, ext. 306.

For the Salvation Army, the Christmas season is a crucial time of year, when volunteers are always needed for the donation kettles operated Monday through Saturday.

“(We) are always looking for people who are willing to ring a few hours at a time,” Martin said. “Next week, Monday and Tuesday, we are looking for volunteers to help carry parcels and boxes of food while our families collect their gifts. This distribution takes place at the mall from 10 am to 3:30 pm If anyone one is interested in volunteering, they just need to call the Beaver Falls office at 724-846-2330 and we’ll be happy to arrange a meeting for you. “

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The Beaver County Salvation Army will be hosting a free dinner at their location in Beaver Falls.

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