Community members feed hungry, lonely over holidays

Camas student organizes Christmas Eve breakfast; Christmas Day dinner continues in Washougal

Approximately 160 people attended a free dinner on Christmas Day 2016, in the Washougal Community Center. The third annual event, organized by volunteers, will be held from 3 to 6 p.m., Monday, Dec. 25, at Hathaway Elementary School, 630 24th St., Washougal. Donations of gifts, hygiene items, socks, hats, scarves, stocking stuffers and non-perishable food, are accepted prior to the event. (Post-Record file photo)

The Hometown Holidays celebrations will wrap up this year with a free Christmas Eve breakfast from 8 to 11 a.m., Sunday, Dec. 24, at the Camas Community Center, 1718 S.E. Seventh St, Camas.

Community members are invited to come and enjoy a pancake breakfast with eggs, sausage, fruit, coffee and juice. Santa will also be on hand, courtesy of Mystic Gardens, for folks who would like to have a free photo with Santa.

Emma Turk, a senior at Camas High School, organized the event for her senior project.

Emma said that she thinks the event will be a really good way to bring everybody in the community together for the holidays.

“I mostly just want people to have a fun time during the holidays, and if they don’t have anywhere else to go, they can come and feel connected to something,” Emma said.

Camas City Councilwoman Shannon Turk, Emma’s mother, said she suggested organizing a holiday meal to her daughter, after attending Refuel Washougal’s annual Christmas Day dinner and thought Camas could use its own version of the holiday community meal.

After deciding to make the holiday breakfast the focus of her senior project, Emma met with the mayor, firefighters union and other community members to rally support for the event. The East Clark Professional Fire Fighters will lend a hand with cooking the breakfast, and Shannon Turk said she hopes the holiday breakfast will become a Camas tradition.

“She grew up in the community since she was two,” Turk said of her teen daughter. “I love the idea that something that she’s starting could live on long after I’m gone and keep benefiting the community. I’m very proud of her.”

The Turk family is funding this first Christmas Eve breakfast, and are currently accepting donations to help with expenses. To volunteer for the event or make a donation, call 360-903-3615.

Washougal’s Christmas Day dinner expands, relocates to Hathaway Elementary

The third annual Christmas Day dinner, served by volunteers in the Camas-Washougal community, will relocate this year from the Washougal Community Center to Hathaway Elementary School.

Volunteers will serve the free dinner, featuring roast beef and ham with mashed potatoes, gravy, soup, salad, rolls, vegetables and dessert, from 3 to 6 p.m., Monday, Dec. 25, in Hathaway, located at 630 24th St., in Washougal.

“We moved the meal to Hathaway Elementary in order to accommodate the growing numbers that attend the meal,” said Michele Gregson.

She and her husband, Mike, are leaders with the Reaching out in Active Discipleship outreach ministry at Radiant Church (formerly Calvary Community Church), of Camas.

“The first year we did this, we served about 85 meals,” Michele said. “Last year, we served about 163 meals. We know that if the numbers are the same as last year, we do not have enough room at the community center to accommodate those numbers.”

Volunteers from Radiant Church and Refuel Washougal, and other interested individuals, will serve the Christmas Day dinner.

Santa is expected to attend, to provide gifts to children and adults, and photos will be available.

Refuel Washougal volunteers serve free dinners from 4 to 6:30 p.m., every Friday, in the Washougal Community Center.

That program involves local churches, non-profit organizations and individuals who provide meals to community members in need.

“If families happen to attend the regular Refuel meals, they will have an opportunity to let us know that they are coming (to the Christmas Day dinner) and be able to give Santa a couple ideas for the gift portion of the day,” Michele said.

Donations of gifts, hygiene items, socks, hats, scarves, stocking stuffers and non-perishable food, can be dropped off from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Tuesday through Friday, at Radiant Church, 2717 N.E. Third Ave.

RSVPs to the Christmas Day dinner are requested, but not required.

For more information about volunteering at the event or to arrange the pick-up or drop-off of donations, call 360-281-1125 or email RADOutreach2017@gmail.com.