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Dawsonville restaurant serves free meal to hundreds on Christmas
Feed the Hungry pic 1
Volunteers Ruth Collins and Theodore Hurst serve chicken wings and tenders during the Dawsonville Tavern's 2016 Feed the Hungry Christmas meal. The Tavern plated over 500 meals that day and served or delivered them to the less fortunate. - photo by Allie Dean Dawson County News

This year, Dawsonville Tavern owners, managers and community volunteers congregated on Christmas day to prepare, pack and deliver food to those in need this holiday season.

This is the second year that the Dawsonville Tavern has decided to open their doors on Christmas not to the public, but to the less fortunate.

Volunteers served a full meal of chicken wings, chicken tenders, mashed potatoes, broccoli, macaroni and cheese and rolls, along with a wide range of desserts and drinks. People were invited to dine in at their leisure from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., or to carry out meals for their families or neighbors.

A large number of meals were also packed and delivered to the homebound and elderly around Dawson County.

According to the Tavern's Facebook page, volunteers served and packaged over 500 meals in total this year.

The restaurant was also open to all first responders and emergency personnel who were working Christmas Day. According to one of the volunteers, the Dawson County Sheriff's Office had lunch delivered to their office on the day.

Reinhart Foods sponsored the food, donating more than $1,000 worth for the Tavern to prepare for its guests. Desserts were made by the various volunteers.

According to manager and Feed the Hungry organizer Scotty Seay, the Christmas meal wouldn't be possible without the enormous help the Tavern receives from the community.

"I'm just blessed and humbled to be able to do this, and it really takes a village," Seay said. "I couldn't pull all of this together without our wonderful volunteers."

Seay's mother, Ruth Collins, was helping to serve the food, and said she was proud of her son and wants to help him every time he organizes the Feed the Hungry event.

"Last year I got here before 10 and left after 6," Collins said. "It makes my heart warm and I sure enjoy giving people in need something to eat."

Many of the volunteers came from outside of the county to help give out the food.

Cande Keller of Dahlonega was at the Tavern before lunch, and helped to serve food, greet people and clean tables.

Keller said her family had gone to Florida for Christmas, and that she had stayed behind to help at the Tavern.

"I just love that I'm getting to help people and serve them a hot meal, it makes my day," Keller said.

Another volunteer, Theodore Hurst, is 13 and lives in Cumming. He was at the Tavern bright and early that morning to help, along with his mother, father and sisters.

This was Hurst's first year volunteering at the Feed the Hungry event, but he said he was used to helping others because his family has volunteered through their church in the past.

Hurst said he didn't mind giving up his Christmas at home to help prepare and serve the meal.

"I like it, it makes me feel good," he said.

Santa also visited the Tavern, and gave all of the children who were there a present or two from his sack.

Seay said he was thankful to the Tavern owners Jennifer and Donavon Hyder for letting him organize the event in their restaurant, along with another manager Nick Royalty. He also wanted to thank Reinhart foods for donating the meal, and the volunteers for all of their help.

Seay said that the real thanks, however, goes to the original reason for the season.

"All the glory goes to Jesus Christ," Seay said. "This is my Christmas present."