“They have done a great job keeping it up,” Gale said. While Gale now attends church regularly in Marblehead, his “heart is here at the Danvers church.
“I have friends here that are still members of the church, like Leonard. As we are getting older, it seems we are getting new people in to keep it going. We’ve always had a great time, a great community effort.”
Gale said when door was thrown wide open to anyone who wanted a meal, it was a risk.
“We were afraid that first year we wouldn’t have enough turkeys, but the turkeys showed up,” Gale said. “They were cooked, and I don’t believe in the religious miracle, but it was like a miracle that people can help, do help, when it comes to this time of year.”
“There have been people out there who are homeless, and we don’t see them. To have an occasion like this makes them visible,” Swanson said.
When asked why this gathering was special, Swanson said: “It’s meeting a need. The need is so easily overlooked.”
Writer and graphic designer Bonnie Hurd Smith, a member of the Unitarian church in Salem who is active in her church, decided to volunteer for the Christmas dinner in Danvers for the first time this year, and she said she made a lot of new friends yesterday.
“It’s been a beautiful afternoon, a lot of grateful, happy, well-fed people,” Smith said.
Staff writer Ethan Forman can be reached at 978-338-2673, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @DanverSalemNews.