A Christmas ham is one of the items on the Noel Dinner menu this year. Community Harvest also offers vegetarian and gluten free meals. Reservations for the Dec. 24 delivered dinner are required by Dec. 17. Press Herald file photo

KENNEBUNK – Community Harvest presents Noel Dinner – brought right to your door – on Christmas Eve Day, Dec. 24. Organizers say meal reservations must be made by Saturday. Dec. 17.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the first Noel Dinner, and while traditionally it has been a sit-down complimentary meal enjoyed with the company of others, this year will be delivery only, due to the continuing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, said Executive Director Kerry de Bree.

“We have always prided ourselves on offering a gathered meal anyone can come to and meet new and old friends, and so much of it is about that camaraderie as much as it is providing food … but in the end, the best decision for us is to stay the course, and hopefully it will be different next year,” said de Bree.

The Noel Dinner began as the brainchild of Eva Barnfather, who organized and continues to preside over the event and plans the menu.

The meal menu is not fully finalized but volunteer Jeanne Gomez, who joined Community Harvest after moving to the area years ago,  provided a glimpse. She said there will be ham, scalloped potatoes – from scratch – cornbread stuffing, a special soup and salad yet to be determined – and pie, of course, and there are vegetarian and gluten-free options.

They will make it pretty, as well as tasty, with festive plates, napkins, and more.


“You can be home and still have a festive meal,” she said.

Gomez said she when she joined Community Harvest, she gravitated to the kitchen.

“I became Eva’s apprentice,” she said.

The volunteers, Gomez said, have a joyful time of it, preparing the meal, which she estimated takes several shifts over three days and 60 to 70 folks pitching in, plus delivery drivers, to accomplish.

De Bree said over the last couple of years, there has been a significant increase in the number of meals produced and enjoyed.

“For Thanksgiving we have had about 550 meals the last couple of years and in 2019 we served 300,” said de Bree. They are expecting to deliver an estimated 400 meals this Christmas Eve Day, as they did in 2021. In 2019, the last gathered Noel Dinner before the pandemic, about 150 partook of the holiday meal.

Meals will be provided cold, with heating instructions. Community members can reserve the complimentary meals by calling 207-967-1911 or visiting www.communityharvestmaine.org. All meal reservations must be made in advance by Saturday, Dec. 17.

Gomez noted that Community Harvest encompasses more than meals. The organization provides emergency assistance in several areas including fuel, utilities, and other critical needs. Information is available on the Community Harvest website under the Our Projects tab.

“There is a lot of love about the program,” said Gomez about the Noel Dinner. ”…. the joy and desire to give back and do something that makes you feel good is so intense. The volunteers walk in so happy to be there. It brings a lot of joy (at a time) when it feels like nobody wants to be kind to one another.”

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