SKOWHEGAN — St. Anthony’s Soup Kitchen, located in the parish hall of Notre Dame de Lourdes Church on Water Street, offered its free weekly meals for all in need on Dec. 22, according to a news release from Dave Guthro, communications director, Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland.

Shirley Melancon and Tom Ross, aka Mrs. Claus and Santa. Photo courtesy of St. Anthony’s Soup Kitchen

The meals are offered from 4:30 to 5 p.m., currently in drive-thru and takeout format because of the pandemic. The meals are usually brought to the cars and walk ups by dedicated volunteers, but last week, Santa, Mrs. Claus, and special friends did the honors.

“Fr. Jim Nadeau found the costumes and two of our volunteers decided to wear them as it was our Christmas meal,” said Aldea LeBlanc, coordinator of the soup kitchen, according to the release. “Tom Ross was Santa and Shirley Melancon was Mrs. Claus.”

Getting caught up in the spirit, Aldea, herself, joined the fun.

“I had my reindeer antlers so I put them on and became Clarissa, Rudolph’s girlfriend,” she said with a smile.

Despite frigid temperatures, the gang served more than 80 meals in just 30 minutes.

“We are a very dedicated group of volunteers that truly want to feed the hungry as best as we can,” said Aldea, according to the release. “The drive-thru method has been working well for us and we hope to continue it as long as possible. The people have become like a family to us and we enjoy seeing them every week.”

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