Danville, VA - The annual Community Christmas Dinner in Danville needs your help. Every year there is a free dinner for those in need on Christmas Day. But this year, they are struggling to find the money to pay for it. In fact, the costs this year are higher than ever. And they have so many people who depend on having this meal.
Leaders of Danville's Community Christmas Dinner hope holiday spirit will come a little early this year.
"This is an actual community event and it takes the whole community," said Cheryl Sutherland, Chairman of Community Christmas Dinner.
They've hosted hundreds of hungry locals on December 25th for more than two decades.
"I appreciate it more than they know providing these meals for me because I like to eat," said Carl Farmer, Participant in Community Christmas Dinner.
"Some places don't do this for the city. And I think that everyone who needs help should participate in it," said Marjorie Parrott, participant in Community Christmas Dinner.
But this year, they expect crowds to increase, and so will the costs.
"We always increase our number of guests because of the economic times," said Sutherland.
Last year it cost nearly $8,000. Which included a city council-granted discount on renting the Community Market. This year, they will pay the full non-profit rate.
"We've never had to pay $2,000 on top of all the food and gifts. We've never had to pay this kind of rental," said Sutherland.
And that is a cost that makes coordinators uneasy. But they remain confident because the dinner means so much.
"We are probably their only Christmas. So for us to be able to hand them a stocking or hand them a gift and to know that we may be the only Christmas they get, that is such a blessing," said Sutherland.
City council says they voted to not give them the discounted rate this year because they have to have a standard for everyone.
If you want to help go to http://communitychristmasdinner.com/index.html