For the past several years we have conducted ongoing projects for the poor and needy of our city, including children at a local orphanage, residents of a home for abused women, and about 250 low-income families. On Christmas Day 2002, we invited them all over to our home for Christmas dinner—1,200 people in all!
Even with tables set up in every possible space on our patio and yard, we could only fit about 300 at a time, so we arranged for our guests to stagger their arrival times, and we served hot meals from noon till about 7 p.m. Various restaurants, bakeries, and shop owners had contributed goods and services that made it possible for us to spread a feast before our guests that included picadillo (a tasty stew made from potatoes, carrots, peas, and ground meat), beans and rice, macaroni and ham salad, cakes, fruit, and bags of cookies for the children.
Each child received a ball, and both adults and children received gifts of quality new and used clothing that had been donated to our work. When the dinner was ended and everyone fed, we still had food and clothes left over, which we later distributed in a poor neighborhood near our home and at a nearby children's hospital.
Our guests were very appreciative. It was also a very special experience for us to be able to celebrate with them the birth of Jesus, whose love led us here to minister to them and is now transforming their lives day by day.
Originally Published in 2003.