TLC prepares for 3rd annual Community Christmas Dinner

Published 9:23 am Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Christmas Dinner
Christmas is a time for celebration, and one local service organization is inviting the community to celebrate the birth of Christ with them.
On Thursday, the TLC Community Center will host its third annual Community Christmas Dinner, and center director Angie Odom hopes everyone comes out for an evening of food, fun and fellowship.
The dinner will be held from 5-7 p.m. at the TLC Community Center, located at 145 Judge Don Lewis Blvd., in Elizabethton. The Center is located across from the National Guard Armory, next to the Workforce Development Complex in Stoney Creek.
The meal will include traditional dishes such as ham, mashed potatoes, green beans, corn, rolls and desserts, Odom said. The meal will be prepared by volunteers and supporters of the Center, she added. Currently, the Center is in needed of more donated desserts for the meal.
In addition to the meal, those attending will also be treated to musical performances and a puppet show.
“There is no particular program, so people can come and go when they please,” Odom said.
Sunnyside Baptist Church, of Kingsport, will be providing the puppet show for the evening. “They have a huge puppet ministry,” Odom said.
A variety of soloists will perform music throughout the evening, Odom said.
And what Christmas event would be complete without a visit from Santa Claus?
The jolly old elf will be on hand to hear Christmas wishes from all the good little boys and girls.
“Santa has some gifts to hand out to the children,” Odom said.
In addition to Santa’s visit during the dinner, Odom said a special time will be set aside for Santa to visit with children who might otherwise not be able to visit him in a traditional setting.
Many special needs children can become overwhelmed by the crowds and loud noises of large shopping center, Odom said, adding those children often miss out on getting to see Santa and have their picture made with him.
“We have a special room that is just for Santa and the child,” Odom said. “I know first hand why this is needed with my daughter because of the sensory issues she has.”
If anyone has a special needs child that would like to get the child’s picture made with Santa, they can visit the TLC Community Center Thursday before the dinner.
The first year the TLC Community Center hosted the community Christmas dinner the volunteers served around 580 meals. Last year that number jumped to nearly 700 meals. In addition to the meals served on site, the Center also served some of the community’s elderly residents by delivering food to Courtyard Apartments, Village East Apartments and Franklin Place Apartments.
Because of the high number of people who turned out for the meal last year, Odom said there will be one change made to this year’s event. During the previous, attendees were allowed to pick up their meal and take it to-go with them. This year, no to-go meals will be served until the end of the meal shortly before 7 p.m., if food is still available.
“That way we can make sure we have enough to serve meals to the folks that show up to eat at the Center,” Odom said.
For more information on the dinner or on when Santa will be available for visits with for children with special needs, contact the TLC Community Center at 423-895-8601.

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