SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The Banquet in Sioux Falls served up a Christmas Eve meal for many people who don’t have anywhere else to go. Workers say there is plenty to be thankful for this year, especially when you compare it with last year.
It was the calm before the chaos in the kitchen at the banquet. Volunteers are ready for a Christmas Eve meal as they prepare to serve more than 200 people in the dining room.
“For so many of our guests, especially for our guests who eat at our downtown location, this is their Christmas, this is their time with family to celebrate the holiday and what it all means,” said Executive Director for The Banquet, Tamera Jerke-Liesinger.
This year’s gathering will be different from last year.
“This year we get to go a little bit back to normal last year we had the Christmas Eve meal but it was all to go, so we lost that family celebration and that fellowship this year we are bringing it back and our guests are excited about it, but our volunteers are even more excited about it,” said Jerke-Liesinger.
Tom Hanson: Why are the volunteers excited about it?
“Because for many of the volunteers that are here today this has become one of their holiday traditions they actually call like the end of October and say get me on the list for Christmas Eve I don’t want to miss out,” said Jerke-Liesinger.
Volunteers, like Jane Elizabeth Gaspari who’s been serving for 6 years.
“It is just a great place to be the people are wonderful and its where you should be right giving back, in service,” said Gaspari.
Lawrence Diggs has made this a personal tradition.
“I’m a single person I don’t have kids, and all the kids are my kids and so when I see the kids who are homeless and they want to have some kind of Christmas and anything I can do to play a part in helping them to do that, that’s my ticket you know I can’t think of a better way to spend Christmas really.
Tom Hanson: So when you come here it’s not only for others but for yourself too?
“It absolutely is for yourself because I am you and you are me and we are all in this together,” said Diggs.
The Banquet Christmas Eve dinner was served at both locations. It runs from 5 until 6:30 p.m. CST at 900 East 8th Street and at the west side location at 5th and Marion.