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Tavern chef pays it forward with free holiday dinner
Volunteers will deliver Christmas meals to those in need
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Santa will already be back at the North Pole, but a few of his elves will stick around Dawsonville Friday to serve Christmas dinners to those in need.

The dining room at Dawsonville Tavern will be open from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. on Christmas Day as volunteers gather to "pay it forward" this holiday season.

The calling to give back comes from a higher place, said Scotty Seay, who organized the free Christmas for the first time five years ago at the same location, although it was a different restaurant at that time.

"It was embedded at an early age that you always pay it forward, from my mother and father, my grandparents, roll models and dear friends in my life," he said. "[Owners] Donovan and Jennifer Hyder are so gracious to allow me to use their facility to do this.

"That has been one of the biggest obstacles that we've had is having a place where people can come in and be comfortable and have a place to sit down and eat."

The free meal, which will include chicken wings, chicken tenders, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, chili and homemade desserts, is available to anyone in need.

Emergency personnel that are working on Christmas and can't be at home with their families are also invited.

"I've also had a lot of volunteers that have said they will deliver food to those who can't get here," Seay said. "There's been an overwhelming amount of people that have come forth and asked to donate some stuff and to give their time on Christmas Day, bring their children and participate.

"These volunteers are really the backbone to get this going. If I didn't have the volunteers, I wouldn't be able to do it."

The restaurant is at 29 Main Street, in downtown Dawsonville, in the Food Lion shopping center. For more information, call (770) 866-2005.