By Ted Waddell
LIBERTY December 18, 2001 The church ladies cook real great, said Olive Stone.
The Liberty resident was one of about 35 local folks who turned out for the annual free community dinner for those in need of fellowship and friendship hosted Sunday afternoon by the Liberty Chamber of Commerce and the Liberty Rotary Club.
The dinner was served at St. Pauls Lutheran Church. In addition to the sit-down meals served by volunteers, about 65 take-outs were delivered to the homebound by off-duty and retired Liberty Post Office employees.
Local architect Robert Dadras put down his drafting tools for the afternoon to help ladle up plates filled to overflowing with slices of hot turkey, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, stuffing and corn. Four huge cakes satisfied the cravings for dessert.
The Liberty Diner was a big hero this afternoon, he said. They donated enough food to feed 300 people.
Mary Ellen Early, a member of the Liberty Chamber of Commerce, was hard at work in the church kitchen alongside Dadras and other volunteers.
Its a nice thing to do in the holiday season, she said.
The annual holiday feast was organized several years ago by former president of the local chamber of commerce and current postmaster Gene DeCarlo and Brian Panich, insurance agent and past president of the Liberty Rotary. This years event was coordinated by DeCarlo.
Mae Nidds is director of the Liberty Interfaith Council and deacon at St. Pauls Church. Both she and her husband Thaddeus volunteered during the dinner.
We have been truly blessed with all of the people who help us with the food pantry and the dinner, she said.
Fadequa Robinson of Liberty sat quietly by her 3 1/2-year-old daughter Elisa Steele as she dived into a plate heaped with turkey and all the trimmings.
We came here to have a nice dinner and get together with friends, said Robinson.
It was heartwarmingly obvious that they did.