The True Meaning of Christmas

We have currently camped out once again at the Monterey County Fairgrounds, because unbeknownst to us, Christmas is a very popular time for RVing. We wanted to stay at New Brighton or Sea-cliff in the Santa Cruz area, but everything was filled up.

Callie loves it here and as I write, the murder of crows is cawing and cackling overhead high up in the oak trees, and Fred and Michael are listening to the Warriors game in his RV. During the game, Michael and I took a quick break and ran over to the “free Christmas meal” provided by the city of Monterey to those in need. Restaurants and local chefs team up to provide a hot meal on Christmas Day to those less fortunate. We were immediately humbled by the large turn out of both hungry people and those helping the hungry.

The Community Holiday Dinner meal was served in one of the large warehouses on the other side of the fairgrounds, and Michael and I practically ran over there because it was almost 2 pm and that was when they would stop serving. The dinner was sponsored by the committee named after this event and the Food Bank for Monterey County. This special event has been hosted for 25 years and Thanksgiving for a whopping-35! We were told about the event from Ray, the host of the RV Park because he has been going to it for years. We were met with raucous Christmas music being played live by 2 musicians dressed up in Santa Claus outfits, and about 100 people or more eating merrily, while others were being served by volunteers lined up to help.

Smoked turkey, a roll with butter, dressing, yams, broccoli, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie, donuts, cupcakes, coffee, and sodas were placed on long tables and served with enthusiastic and kind volunteers ready to pile up your plate with as much food as you wanted, and the food was absolutely free to those in need!

There were also tables filled with gently used clothing that people could pick through and select whatever they wanted to keep. Jackets and warm sweaters, shoes, and socks, pants and shirts for both men and women. There were a fair amount of homeless people pushing their carts with all of their belongings in them, and opinionated dogs guarding the carts. Many of the homeless appeared to know one another and were talking and laughing amongst themselves.

We were served our holiday meal and fit right in with most of the crowd, but we were more fortunate in that we could leave a donation and didn’t need free clothes or food. I also tried to compliment as many of the volunteers that I came into contact with and thanking them profusely for giving up their time over Christmas to help. This is what Christmas means to me, GIVING, and I was so happy to see this side of humanity being played out with dignity and respect toward the poor. Next year I want to be one of those helping to serve.

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