BELDING — Several area businesses and many individual supporters are teaming up to hold the sixth annual free Christmas Eve dinner at the Bridge Street Cafe in Belding.
Several years ago the Scheid family that owns and operates the restaurant came up with the idea of hosting the free dinner as they discussed how tough it would be on people who could not afford a traditional holiday dinner at home or for those who might not have anyone to enjoy such a holiday feast with no place else to go.
The community response to the effort has been great through the years with donations of all kinds including money, supplies and all the volunteer hours necessary to prepare the food and serve the hundreds of people who came to enjoy the dinner.
Restaurant co-owner Dave Scheid says of this annual event, “It is very satisfying to see people come out and enjoy the dinner and spend time with neighbors and friends on such a special holiday.”
Belding Area Chamber President Mike Verdun said, “I am happy to help with this event each year. Being a part of giving people, who might not otherwise be able to, the opportunity to share a meal with others on Christmas Eve, is very satisfying.”
Verdun said for the second consecutive year Bridge Street Cafe will be coordinating with Ionia Area Commission on Aging to deliver a dinner to the Belding area participants in the Meals-on-Wheels food program.
“It is great to be able to include those individuals too,” Verdun added.
Both Scheid and Verdun agree that it is also very gratifying to see the community response as they put the word out for volunteers and other help for the event.
Belding Dial-a-Ride has agreed to assist people again this year with transportation if needed. If you would like a ride, please call the Bridge Street restaurant at (616) 794-3360 by Friday to be placed on the schedule.
Again this year there will be a Brass trio performing and Santa has indicated he will try to take some time out of his busy schedule that night to stop and visit.
The dinner is scheduled for Monday from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Bridge Street Café, located at 103 E. High St. (corner of High and Bridge streets) in Belding. If you would like additional information about the event, contact Renee Scheid at the restaurant (616) 794-3360, or Verdun (616) 794-1300.