© Eric McCarthy/Journal Pioneer
Preston Murphy, from left, and Lloyd and Carolyn Murray help with the cleanup as the annual free Christmas Day dinner concludes at St. Anthony’s Hall. An estimated 175 to 190 meals were served.
WOODSTOCK -- Salt ling and baked beans were on the menu. So were ham and traditional Christmas turkey with all the toppings.
An estimated 150 to 160 people took in the free Christmas day dinner West Prince businessman Preston Murphy organized Christmas day at St. Anthony’s Hall in Woodstock.
“A mixture of everything,” Murphy said in describing what diners loaded onto their plates.
Murphy didn’t do it all alone. Family members and friends helped with the preparations, and local residents and business people supplied goods and money towards the meal.
Doreen Sark, who attended the meal, marveled at how many of the people attending brought instruments to help keep the music going throughout the meal. Many of the diners were there from the time the meal started at noon until the clean-up was done around 3 p.m.
Asked if the meal makes his Christmas, Murphy responds without hesitation, “It always does.”
Besides the sitdown meal, Murphy said Between 25 and 30 take-outs were delivered to people between Alberton and O’Leary.
“Some of them called for them, but others, we deliver them every year and know they want them.”
Much of the preparations were done at the hall on Christmas eve with the aid of close to 30 volunteers.
“And probably that many again today.”
Besides an exchange of Christmas wishes, several attendees were packing leftovers for acquaintances as the free festive event concluded.