The Record-Review – The official newspaper of Bedford and Pound Ridge, New York

 

Christmas Dinner serves 300, goes green in Katonah


By EVE MARX
JULIE BETTS TESTWUIDE PHOTO

“Snow Elf” a k a Bethany Sax of Katonah makes an appearance at the Christmas dinner.

 

The Christmas Dinner, a charitable event that feeds, clothes and gifts the homeless of Westchester, celebrated its 19th annual extravaganza this year in the gymnasium of St. Mary’s Church, now part of Montfort Academy in Katonah. The three-hour pageant of food, entertainment and gifting, which this year included volunteers dressed up as elves, clowns and other fanciful characters leading a conga line, is one of the most fully and innovatively staffed charitable events in the region. Dozens of volunteers give up this special time of year normally spent with family to prepare and serve a gourmet Christmas dinner whose components and ingredients, as well as finished dishes, are all donated by Westchester caterers and restaurants. Volunteers also wash dishes, hand out gifts, and prepare leftover food for distribution Christmas afternoon and evening to food pantries all over the region, as well as coordinate and man the cleanup, the latter perhaps the most daunting job of all. More than 300 people of all ages were served.

Licia Sandberg, who organized dinner this year with coordinator Ben Harvey, said one of the things she was most proud of was that all food scraped from the plates would be composted. “We feed a lot of people but we also generate a great deal of garbage,” she said. “And I wanted to do something about that.”

To that end, Ms. Sandberg said she worked hard to get that element of the Christmas Dinner truly green. “We are green now,” Ms. Sandberg said with some pride. Jamer Breene, the team captain in charge of composting, was too busy for conversation. He and his green composting team were hard at work filling bags of refuse destined for a dumpster donated by Suburban Carting and headed to a composting center in New Milford, Conn.

The guests were gathered out in the gymnasium lined up for the smorgasbord-style food or congenially seated at long tables chatting. County Legislator Peter Harckham was back in the kitchen with an apron tied over his pants, up to his elbows washing pots and pans. The gifting elves were assembling in a classroom awaiting last-minute directives. In a corridor, a sea of bags of gifts and goodies lined the hall. A classroom held dozens of piles of warm clothing that didn’t make it the first cut and were waiting to be redistributed to area shelters, which Ms. Sandberg said has an endless need for warm clothes. Another room held a bounty of brand-new toys. “We got a lot of toys,” Ms. Sandberg said. “More than we could distribute today.” At the moment, she didn’t know where the toys would go. “It’s one of the jobs I still have to do today,” she said. “Find out who will take these extras.”

George Knoechel of Carmel, who has been volunteering at The Christmas Dinner for five years, congratulated Ms. Sandberg on a job well done. “Wow,” he said. “The amount of work that went into making this happen. I’m so impressed.”

Lou Codella of White Plains has worked at Children’s Village in Dobbs Ferry for 35 years. He’s been volunteering at the Christmas Dinner for eight years, every year bringing five young teen boys who are in residence at Children’s Village and have no family to be with on Christmas Day, to volunteer with him. Tim P., one of his charges, was enthusiastic about his role as a food runner. He was also impressed by the event’s organization and presentation. “It’s really well organized, it’s not just a ‘sit down and eat dinner’ thing,” he said. “It’s entertainment, it’s gifts for the kids, it’s food to go,” he said, in reference to the bags of food sent back with each guest so they have more than the meal they just ate. “It’s great, it’s amazing, I’m really glad to be a part of it.”

Erica Wallace, owner of Erica’s Kitchen in Bedford Village, not only donated food for the dinner, but also stayed to help serve it.

“This is what the holiday is all about to me,” Ms. Wallace said. “This is the real meaning of Christmas. I just can’t get over the scope of it. This is my second year volunteering and I’ve already signed up for the next.”



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December 28, 2012

‘Pops, Patriots and Fireworks’

Pound Ridge/Scotts Corners

  1. Scotts Corner Market – Trinity Corners Shopping Center;  55 Westchester Avenue

  2. Pound Ridge Sunoco — 66 Westchester Avenue    

  3. Sam Parker Country Market — 257 Westchester Avenue    


Bedford Village

  1. Bedford Rexall Pharmacy — Hunting Ridge Mall; 424 Old Post Road  

  2. Village Green Deli — Village Green; Routes 22 and 172    

  3. Bedford Shell — Routes 22 and 172 (at blinking light); 848 So. Bedford Road

  4. Village Service Center —193 Pound Ridge Road (at Long Ridge Road intersection)    


Bedford Hills

  1. Bedford Hills Deli – 7 Babbitt Road    

  2. Bueti’s Deli – 526 Bedford Road (Route 117)


Katonah

  1. NoKA Joe’s – 25 Katonah Avenue    

  2. Steger’s Paper Mill – 89 Katonah Avenue    

  3. Katonah Pharmacy – Katonah Shopping Center; 294 Katonah Avenue   

  4. Bagel Shoppe – Katonah Shopping Center; 280 Katonah Avenue    

  5. Katonah Sunoco – 105 Bedford Road


Mount Kisco

  1. Teamo/Mt. Kisco News – 239 Main Street    


Cross River

  1. Bagel Boys Café – Cross River Shopping Center; Routes 121 and 35    

  2. Cross River Shell Station – Route 35    

  3. Cameron’s Deli –  890 Route 35    

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