UNITY — Cars full of people lined up Thursday afternoon along Depot Street to get a hot Christmas meal from the Volunteer Regional Food Pantry.

The dinner, sponsored by The Open Door, was served curbside due to COVID-19 and was moved from Christmas Day to Christmas Eve after organizers saw heavy rain and wind in the Friday forecast.

Nonetheless, the dinner drew a hefty turnout on Christmas Eve. Among the attendees was Ronnie Levesque, 66, of Freedom, who picked up meals for eight different households. 

Levesque is an avid volunteer in the area and felt compelled to deliver meals to those in need and those who couldn’t leave the house.

“People ask me why are you doing this?” Levesque said. “God sent me to do this.”

Richard and Bunny Moore, 35-year Unity residents, prepared 120 meals that consisted of roast stuffed chicken, stuffing, mashed potatoes, peas, biscuits and rolls.

“Just trying to pick everybody’s Christmas spirit up,” Moore said. “A lot of the people we see at the soup kitchen are older and have nobody to be with and we know it’s a drive-thru, but they’re loved.”

The Moore’s have been serving community meals for the last 15 years.

In addition to the meals, attendees received gift bags packed with books, cookies and hand sanitizer.

Helping the Moore’s distribute the meals were Jon and Anne Dowdy who brought their five sons: Abide, 10, Asher, 6, Bogdan, 5, Duriel, 3, and Zacchaeus, 1.

Abide said the family does a variety of volunteer projects including raking leaves for those who are unable to.

The curbside dinner comes as the Central Maine Family Christmas Dinner in Waterville, one of the most prominent community meals in the region, was canceled because of COVID-19 and a lack of funds.

The Open Door is a 15-year-old volunteer group sponsored by Quaker Hill Christian Church. It offers a soup kitchen every Thursday and serves yearly holiday meals to the public. The soup kitchen normally closes for a month or two in the summer, but not this past summer. It recently took a shorter break, but is back to serving as many as 200 individuals each week via drive-thru or delivery services.


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