SEABROOK — Christmas is supposed to be a happy time, but for some, like the elderly, those living alone or who are experiencing financial problems, it can be a pretty lonely, stressful time.
There are some special people in the Seacoast communities who understand that, and for six years have put on the Gift of Giving dinner, a free holiday meal for anyone who needs food, toys or just some companionship. The event will take place from 4 to 7 p.m. on Dec. 22 at Seabrook Community Center, located on Route 1.
“If you’re going to spend Dec. 22 alone, eating a can of soup, come join us for a great meal and some good company,” said Chad Luby. “If you’re feeling the financial pinch and just need a good meal for your family, come along. Everyone’s welcome. There are no state lines for this dinner. We’re happy to see people, families, from any of the area cities and towns.”
The owner of the Butcher Shop and Restaurant on Route 1 in Hampton Falls, Luby and his wife, Jennifer, are the originators of the Gift of Giving dinner that started six years ago. The idea then was to help those in need, and that’s still the goal.
For the Lubys, the dinner is a reward in itself. According to Luby, the first year he and his wife put on the affair was the best Christmas he’d ever experienced. The meal gives back to its volunteers as much or more as it does to those it feeds and comforts, he said.
Luby, a chef with culinary degrees from Rhode Island’s Johnson and Wales College, cooks the meal, which consists of about 200 pounds of ham, 250 pounds of turkey and all the fixings. That works out to be about 13, 20-pound birds and 20 or more 8- to 10-pound spiral hams, and heaven knows how much stuffing, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, rolls and sweets.