BINGHAMTON, NY – An organization with the motto “Love never fails” is preparing to once again host a giant family-style holiday meal.
The Bandera Family and Community Alliance announced plans today for the 30th annual Bandera Family Free Christmas Dinner.
The free meal takes place on Christmas Day at 3 locations around our area, including its original home, American Legion Post 80 on Main Street in Binghamton.
The late Bill Bandera, Senior and his wife Carolyn began the tradition in 1989 to both serve the needy and to offer fellowship to people who were alone on Christmas.
Their son, Bill Junior, has been organizing the dinner for the past 10 years.
He says the event relies on sponsors Security Mutual, BAE Systems, Weis Markets, Sam’s Club and others, as well as volunteers, including the 100 the come on Christmas Day and the handful of dedicated people who help to prepare the homemade meal over 2 weeks prior.
Bandera says the word “family” in the event title refers to everyone who participates.
“It’s a family to us, and it’s a relationship where we really just want to touch people’s hearts. Of course, we want them to have a great, hot, homemade meal. But we want them to know that we care about them, that they matter in this community. Everybody walks away from the dinner knowing that’s a true fact. If you received a meal or gave a meal, it doesn’t really matter,” says Bill Bandera (Senior).
Roughly 4,000 will be served on Christmas, including about 1,200 that are delivered.
The buffet-style turkey dinner is served at Post 80 and a new Endicott location, the former Saint Ambrose School on Garfield Avenue from noon until 3.
Meals will also be served at American Legion Post 189 in Norwich from 1 until 4.
You can order a home delivery up until 5 PM on Monday by calling 2-1-1.