BAREFOOT CARING COUNCIL’S MONTHLY
The Community Christmas Dinner/Clothing Drive
The year was 1989. Hurricane Hugo has just blown through, and American Red Cross disaster team member Janice Ash Sialiano realized there would be a lot of people without a place to go for Christmas dinner. And so the Community Christmas Dinner was born!
That first year, Janice and a group of volunteers fed 500 people at what would become an annual event, originally known as the Red Cross Christmas Dinner. But it wouldn’t be long before the group added to their services.
On a chilly night a few years later, a woman walked into the dinner at First Presbyterian Church in Myrtle Beach without a coat. Another woman walked up to her, took off her coat and gave it to her. Thus began the collection of clothing as part of the Community Christmas Dinner.
The group’s numbers, and its impact, have grown exponentially since those early years. In its 20th year, it formed a board, became a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, and changed its name to Community Christmas Dinner. This year, it hopes to provide more than 14,000 meals to needy South Carolinians from Andrews to Nichols over Christmas Eve and Christmas Day—no small feat on a budget of approximately $50,000!
Of course, none of this could happen if not for donations and volunteers from our Myrtle Beach community. Local churches, including St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church, Berlin Methodist, and Trinity United in Andrews help by hosting dinners. Crabby Mike’s restaurant and local chefs also pitch in by ordering food in bulk from their suppliers, relying heavily on Community Christmas Dinner’s grant funds and individual donations to pay for and supplement those purchases.
The Barefoot Caring Council will again this year help this deserving organization by collecting individually wrapped cookies, brownies, and possibly coats, hats, etc. (The clothing collection was halted in 2020 due to Covid; a decision will be made in late October as to whether other donations—limited to coats, hats and gloves, socks, blankets, toothbrushes and toothpaste—will be accepted this year.)
If you would like to make a monetary donation, please make your check payable to Community Christmas Dinner and mail to Community Christmas Dinner, 1441 Southwood Drive, Surfside Beach, SC 29575. Because the organization is 100% volunteer based, all monetary donations go directly to food purchases.
If you are interested in volunteering to deliver meals, or to volunteer in other ways, please e-mail Janice Sialiano at email@example.com or contact the Barefoot Caring Council at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Be on the lookout for an e-mail from the Caring Council in late November/early December with details on donating to this year’s dinner.