Commonwealth Journal

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December 24, 2012

Family helps others as Christmas tradition

Dinner today at noon at First United Methodist

Somerset —  

For more than two decades, one local family has made it their Christmas tradition to help others. 
“We have always been grateful for our blessings and feel that we must give back to others and pass it on,” said Brooke Cary Whitis. “It's important to give your time and service to others in your community especially during the Christmas season.”
Whitis and her sister, Megan Cary, have been offering their hands and their hearts for more than 22 years every Christmas Eve. The sisters work the First United Methodist Church of Somerset’s community Christmas dinner yearly — and they wouldn’t miss it for the world. 
“Dad took us and it really opened my eyes that there are a lot of people alone and with not much to eat in our town,” Cary said. “It started with Dad taking us and turned into something I don't miss."
Whitis and Cary and their father aren’t the only family who have made it their tradition to help those in need through the dinner.
Terry Reffett, reverend at First United Methodist Church, said the volunteers are who make the undertaking possible every year.
“The volunteer base has been outstanding,” Reffett said. “We couldn’t do it by ourselves.”
The dinner has handed out between 850 and 1,000 meals — either on-site at the church fellowship hall or through delivery — every year since the late 1980s at least. 
Whitis said she and her sister began volunteering for the dinner around 1987 — when she was in high school and when Cary was in middle school. 
“Dad was always into helping others during the holidays,” said Whitis, who is also known for her work with the American Cancer Society.
The sisters don’t attend United Methodist Church, but that doesn’t matter. All volunteers are welcome come Christmas Eve. 

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