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KENNEBUNK — The menu sounds inviting, the atmosphere promises to be welcoming and the tradition continues as members of Community Harvest, led by Eva Barnfeather host the annual Noel Dinner on Christmas Day.

The food is homemade, prepared by skilled, willing volunteers, and the meal will be served at 1 p.m. Dec. 25 at St. Martha Church, Route 1, in Kennebunk.

The Christmas Day dinner has become a tradition for many families in the area, and organizers say, it is a wonderful way for neighbors to get to know each other while enjoying a delicious Christmas meal. Last year, the Noel Dinner served nearly 135 people, including guests and volunteers.

It all started several years ago, as Barnfeather, now 97, and her friend, Barbara Hennessy, were discussing the popularity of the complimentary Project Pilgrim dinner served by Community Harvest on Thanksgiving Day. The two old friends thought a dinner on Christmas Day might be successful, Barnfeather recalled.

“I said I’ve always wanted to do a big Christmas dinner, she liked the idea and we said let’s do it,” said Barnfeather on Dec. 12. “It was two women deciding we wanted to do something for someone else.”

Hennessy has since passed away. Barnfeather, a board member of Community Harvest, chairs the Noel Dinner, and is in the kitchen during the preparations making sure all the food is prepared well, and according to the recipes.


“I can remember making 12 pecan pies, but a nice lady came to help and she took it on,” said Barnfeather.

This year, the menu will include a tomato and red bell pepper soup, ham, scalloped potatoes, carrots, salad, a frozen cranberry dessert that Hennessy always made for the dinner – and of coursed, pecan pie. Those who order take-out dinners will enjoy homemade whoopie pies, Barnfeather said.

Volunteers start preparations on Christmas Eve day and then return Christmas morning to cook.

“It’s wonderful to work with the people, they come back year after year, it’s really warm and lovely,” said Barnfeather. “I love it.”

Reservations and takeout orders can be made in advance by calling 967-1911 and leaving a message with your name and number. Reservations are encouraged, however everyone is welcome to stop in and enjoy a homemade Christmas meal, “on the house.” Those interested in becoming involved and volunteering to help with the Noel Dinner are encouraged to call and leave a message at the same number.

“We want folks to know that our doors are open to anyone who wants to spend this Christmas with Community Harvest,” Barnfeather said.

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