[fbphotos id=449106915142680] By ANDREW COGLIANO
Christmastime. The time for giving, the time for family, and the time for cheer. But what happens to the less fortunate? Those who can barely afford food, let alone gifts for others? Well, the Bread of Life thought of that, and has been holding a Christmas dinner every year for those in need during the holiday season. On Dec. 25, 2012, the homeless, impoverished, and hungry citizens could finally find repose from the trouble of daily life. The event was held in the upper area of Saint Paul’s Episcopal Church in Malden, and hosted by the Bread of Life. Two local synagogues also helped clean and prepare the meals for those who showed up. The main attraction was, as stated on the flyer, “roast beef with all the fixings,” but guests were also offered many other things, like fruit and bread to take home with them. Joan Meader, a local volunteer, says that the event has been held for “years and years and years! We’ve been doing this for more than seven years!" The entire upper level of the church was packed, with a massive line of people wanting food. Meader and her partner, Paul Mongeau, said that the turnout “has stayed the same, [but] the number of delivered meals has grown.” The Bread of Life also delivers countless meals to the disabled, or to those who cannot be at the church. Meader also says that the two synagogues “do it all” and the fruits of their combined labor is seen very easily. About 200 people were able to escape the cold and finally have a good, warm meal.
Saugus native Ruth Berg, a member of Temple Tifereth Israel in Malden, gave her opinion on the meal as well. She said that this year was the “busiest year [we have] had in many years,” which is something coming from a 31 year veteran! Her synagogue was in charge of cooking and decorating, showing up at 3 AM to prepare, and not leaving until 8 PM that night. She explained how since the Jewish community does not celebrate Christmas, they can organize the event, allowing people who do celebrate it to spend it with their family, and with good food.
When they have finished eating, the attendees can leave downstairs, where another surprise awaits them. A table covered in gloves, hats, scarves, and other winter essentials otherwise unavailable to them, and all of it for free. With full stomachs and warm bodies, the festival truly showed the good in peoples hearts. Berg even said “only the bad [people] make the news. We never hear about the good ones.”