Feeding the Community for More than 20 Years

By Brandi Bailey

December 20, 2012 Updated Dec 20, 2012 at 7:28 PM EDT

(WBNG Binghamton) It's a family tradition that started more than 20 years ago when Bill and Carolyn Bandera wanted to feed the community on Christmas Day. The first dinner started with just 69 people in 1989.

"Our take out numbers have risen, our visits to the hall have risen," said Anderson Clark, a seven year volunteer.

Now feeding more than 5,000 people throughout Broome County, Bill Bandera Jr. works hard to keep his parents legacy and the holiday dinner alive.

"When you see all these people come in and volunteers and everyone treats everyone like their family. That's why my parents started it and that's why I want to continue it," said Bandera.

The dinner is not without hard work. Volunteers roast more than 240 turkeys and hundreds of pounds of potatoes.

The food is the vehicle that drives the cause.

"The need is there. The need is always there. The need to help people isn't going to go away. Hopefully we can meet that with our part on Christmas," said Bandera.

Bandera receives donations throughout the year from sponsors and member of the community.

"This is no sacrifice. This is a joy. I mean one of the things that makes us special as Americans is that we give back and we help people, and that makes us blessed and gives us more back than we give," said MaryAnn Callahan.

It's a gift that's difficult to put a price tag on.

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