LIMA — Hundreds of people packed Lima’s Veterans Memorial Civic Center on Sunday to enjoy the annual free Easter dinner.
“My family had ours last week, so I didn’t have anywhere to go today. I think it’s really nice that everybody gets to come out and have a meal and fellowship,” said Eddie Haney, of Lima.
In the past, the Ellis family organized the meal. In recent years, the Ahl family assumed the mantle.
“The first year we did it with the Ellis family, and this is the third year after that to do it ourselves,” Tom Ahl said.
Of course, there was lots of food to eat.
“We were preparing for like 550 to 600 (meals) in that area, so yep, we’ve got lots of ham, we’ve got lots of beans and lots of mashed potatoes,” Ahl said.
It’s something he and the volunteers look forward to each year.
“We love it. We’re excited about it, very much so,” Ahl said.
Ahl says it feels good to give back.
“When you serve others, you get more out of it than the people you serve, so it’s exciting. It’s fun, and it’s a blessing, and we get blessed more than they do, I know. We’re thankful to be able to have the opportunity to do it,” Ahl said.
Without the volunteers, the dinner couldn’t happen.
“There’s some volunteers here that have done this for 20-plus years, so we’re very excited to have them aboard again, and they give their Easters all these years,” Ahl said.
Don and Ann Leader have been volunteering at the Easter dinner for more than 20 years.
“We’re blessed every single day. They’re not, and it’s just a way to show up here and continue what God has blessed us with,” Ann Leader said.
Don Leader added, “It’s just a time of fellowship and serving, and I enjoy doing that, doing it as a team, Tom’s put together a nice team of people, and so it becomes family for us for this day to be able to do that and making those connections so we come back again, and then the people who are coming through, too. It’s just a good way we can show God’s love to them with our serving attitude and smile and give them a day that they may not be able to have if there wasn’t somebody like Tom to come alongside and do this.”
Ahl said, “They’re the ones that are amazing to give so many years of their lives (to this dinner).”
Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409.