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650 get food boxes at Christmas with Dignity

Repeated trips to and from cars by a volunteer pushing a grocery cart hauling food boxes on Saturday had turned a small piece of grass in front of St. Paul Lutheran Church into mud.

It was the church’s annual Christmas with Dignity, an event that provides needy families with food for Christmas.

People started getting in line before 7 a.m. for the giveaway. St. Paul member and Christmas with Dignity organizer Sherry Popp said the community’s response to the event is always tremendous.

“We signed up 650 this year, which is 50 more than last year,” she said. “Because of the rain we are moving a little slower, but we are getting it done.”

Each box contained enough food to typically last each family three or four days. Chicken, ham, some type of beef, vegetables, a pie and sweet potatoes along with Lutheran Social Services’ donation of bread, pastries, potatoes and fruit.

Lutheran Social Services Mobile Food Pantry brought nearly 10,000 pounds of produce and bread products to the church.

Each food box is valued between $150 and $200, Popp said, and the church buys each one for $30.

“If you do the math that’s $18,000,” Popp said. “All that money comes from fundraising we do here at our church and from All Saints Lutheran in Columbus.”

Dozens of volunteers help make the program possible.

“It’s a lot of work and it takes a lot of people to do this,” Popp said. “We could double the number of boxes we give out each year and still not have enough to meet the need in our community.”