Christmas can be a lonely time for people with no friends and family in the area. A group of Nikiski volunteers are planning to keep that loneliness at bay this Christmas by filling people's hearts with holiday cheer and their stomachs with a home-cooked dinner.
Three years ago, Nikiski resident Jennifer Broussard wanted to put on a community Christmas dinner for people with no place to go for the holidays. She and her 45 fellow volunteers organized an event that served dinner to 40 people. Last year that number increased to 100. This year Broussard is cooking for 300.
"In Nikiski, we have a lot of single men who come up to work who don't have anywhere else to go," Broussard said. "We want everyone to have a Christmas dinner."
The dinner will be held from noon to 4 p.m. on Christmas at Bubba's Restaurant in Nikiski. The event is free and open to anyone.
"It's made for those who can't afford a nice dinner, but it's not some throw-food-on-the-plate type of thing," Broussard said. "It's not formal, but there's cloth napkins and real plates so people take pride in their Christmas dinner.
Broussard and her volunteers take donations from area businesses and organizations and purchase the food at discounted prices from area grocery stores, she said.
The food will be cooked today and Tuesday so it will be fresh out of the oven for dinner. The dinner lasts four hours so everyone who comes has a chance to eat.
The community Christmas dinner is a tradition Broussard plans to continue next year, although it may have to move to larger quarters if all 300 people come. But that would be a problem Broussard wouldn't mind dealing with.
"There's a lot of food," Broussard said. "I hate to see people who didn't hear about it when we have this much food."
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