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Holiday help for homeless in Bradenton

BRADENTON -- The community’s homeless will not be forgotten at the holidays.

Our Daily Bread and the Salvation Army, as well as First United Methodist Church and Harvest Chapel have events planned tonight and Christmas Day for them.

“No one likes to be alone at Christmas,” said Julia Showers, the Salvation Army’s seasonal resource coordinator.

Among the events:

n First United Methodist Church of Bradenton, 603 11th St. W., will hold a 6 p.m. candlelight service tonight followed by a homemade soup dinner. Sweatshirts and socks will be given out, too.

n Harvest Chapel, 1300 17th Ave. W., will hold a 7 p.m. candlelight service Friday and backpacks with toiletry items will be distributed.

n Our Daily Bread, 701 17th Ave. W., will be serving a Christmas dinner from 10-11:30 a.m. Saturday.

“Ham, turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, the whole thing,” said kitchen manager Penny Goethe.

A retired dentist donated 12 hams Tuesday morning, while the Korean War Veterans Association dropped off a dozen turkeys.

That ought to feed plenty of the 200 to 300 folks expected at Our Daily Bread, which served 335 Monday.

“We’ve got plenty of food but we can always use more,” Goethe said.

Donors can call 745-7992.

n Salvation Army, 1204 14th St. W., also will serve a Christmas dinner from 4-6 p.m. Saturday.

More than 700 were served on Thanksgiving and they’re expecting as many again Christmas Day. The average is 300 daily.

“People know they will get a really good meal, a traditional Christmas dinner and more will come if it’s cold outside,” said Julia Showers, the Salvation Army’s seasonal resource coordinator. “Plus, if you’re by yourself, you’re lonely, to be able to come in and be with somebody, see the Christmas tree, that has something to do with it. It’s Christmas.”

Their meal will be augmented by a dozen frozen turkeys donated by the Manatee County Bar Association, which also delivered $1,000 in cash donations.

Anyone interested in donating food can bring pies.

“That’s what we need -- pumpkin, apple, any kind,” Showers said.

Call 748-5110.

Vin Mannix, local columnist, can be reached at 745-7055.