Bringing Owego's Christmas dinner back home

By Kelly McCarthy

December 25, 2013 Updated Dec 25, 2013 at 7:50 PM EDT

Owego, NY (WBNG Binghamton) For the first time in two years, the annual Christmas Day dinner at the United Methodist Church in Owego can finally welcome its guests back home.

This is the seventh year the United Methodist Church held a free Christmas Day dinner, but for the past two years it was held at Tioga Opportunities Countryside Community Center.

"We've always been able to continue, which is great," said organizer Melody Patterson, "But to come home and be able to do it from home, it just moves you to tears. It's all about giving and if you can give from your home instead of a different location it's marvelous."

Organizers said the Fellowship Hall still has some rebuilding to do, but the kitchen, one of the most important areas for their Christmas Day dinner, is brand new.

"There are about 50 volunteers and they're not all church members," Patterson said, "They're from the community, they're from other organizations, other churches would come in and help us out."

Hundreds of guests who showed up for a free meal could still see the yellow line of tape that marks the waters of the 2011 flood.

"We didn't know what to expect when we came in," said Pastor Mark Kimpland of Endwell United Methodist, "There were just people all over the place working, rolling up their sleeves, whether they were in the kitchen or in the dining hall here so they bring a great spirit to what is happening today."

Volunteers came together to prepare food for up to 300 guests and home deliveries. There was also a free coat rack for people who needed a winter coat, and a craft corner for children.