Nourishing the community with a free holiday meal


VERMILLION, S.D. (KELO) — More people may be spending the holidays home alone this year, but that doesn’t mean the Christmas spirit is lost. A Vermillion winery and its community partners are making sure of that.

Patsy O’Neal is getting Christmas dinner to-go this year.

“I just wanted to have Christmas with some friends and I’m all alone. I just lost my husband a year ago and so I love this opportunity,” O’Neal said.

Valiant Vineyards Winery & Distillery owner Eldon Nygaard and his wife came up with this idea to provide meals to people who are home alone this holiday for pandemic-related reasons or not.

“It’s not pleasant news these days. We knew there was a lot of people home alone because of not being able to travel during the pandemic,” Nygaard said.

Deanna Schultz is picking up nearly 100 meals for seniors in the area.

“A lot of them don’t have families around, so a lot of them don’t even think about Christmas too much so it means a lot to them. They feel like they’re being thought of,” Schultz said.

The meals, which include ham and holiday trimmings, are free.

“I had this one lady she wanted to give us a tip. I said, ‘No, I can’t take your tip. This is what we’re doing for you,'” Nygaard said.

Because making someone’s Christmas a little brighter is nourishing enough.

“I wasn’t relishing the day of eating by myself so this is just a great opportunity to get out and meet people and it’s Christmas,” O’Neal said.

The meals were handed out curbside from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Christmas Day. Hy-Vee and the Vermillion Area Chamber & Development Company teamed up with Valiant Vineyards for the event.

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