More than 900 hot meals were served on Christmas Day to Jackson County residents in need.
It was a record-breaking year for the community project, which is organized by two Seymour businesses, The Brooklyn Pizza Co. and Bubba’s Place.
For the past five years, Brooklyn Pizza owner Shawn Malone and Bubba’s Place owners Brian “Bubba” and Jessica D’Arco have sponsored the event.
But it’s the support of those who donate and volunteer that make the day a success, Malone said.
A total of 927 meals were served from two locations with 850 of those being delivered by volunteers.
The $2,000 in donations made by local businesses and individuals covered the cost of all of the food and even resulted in some leftover money that will be donated to help stock The Alley and the Community Diner with meat and vegetables.
“These groups are feeding people daily and weekly,” Malone said.
Major donations were made by Ranger Enterprises, Showbound Express, King’s Trucking and Excavation, Seymour NAPA, Seymour RE/MAX, The Home Depot and Peggy’s Cleaning Service. United Way also supports the event by taking meal orders through its 2-1-1 hotline.
On Christmas Day, volunteers started arriving at Brooklyn Pizza before 8:30 a.m. eagerly awaiting the opportunity to help. In all, close to 100 people showed up to make a difference in the community.
“We arranged the front of the pizza shop into a finely tuned assembly line,” Malone said.
For the second year, The Pines Restaurant and Catering in Seymour volunteered to cook all of the food and deliver it to Brooklyn Pizza. The food arrived around 9:45 a.m.
“We set up the lines, and the packaging began,” Malone said. “My wife (Jennifer) and Jess D’Arco are at the center of it all. They handed out delivery addresses and kept track of all the meals going out.”
While the women supervised, Brian and Shawn, both of whom serve on Seymour City Council, and their friend, Lom Win, kept dinner rolls and extra vegetables cooking in the kitchen, and other volunteers helped with dishes and restocking.
“Brent Gill kept the food line stocked and flowing with no downtime,” Malone said. “In all, we served over 600 meals from our location, and Scott Jackson and his crew prepared 300 in Brownstown.”
By 2 p.m, all the meals had been served.
Malone said the number of requested meals keeps increasing.
“Every year, we have watched our numbers grow, but even we didn’t expect over 900,” he said.