ANGOLA — A longstanding Angola Rotary outreach was as festive as ever Wednesday at the Angola Elks Lodge.
In two shifts, disabled workers from Steuben and LaGrange counties who work and learn at RISE Inc. were served a full Christmas lunch. They were seated at tables with linen tablecloths and napkins and served at their seats by Rotary members, who included Santa Claus himself.
Personalized place mats were colored by children in Prairie Heights Elementary School’s kindergarten through second grade. On heavy white paper, the pictures were of reindeer, snowmen and other holiday imagery, some of them with inspirational messages.
After they ate their turkey dinner, complete with dessert, the RISE clients played group games, led by Rotarian Colleen Everage.
They also heard from 2019 Rotary president Bobbi Grill.
“Continue to pray and be kind to those around you,” Grill told them. “There’s always room for kindness.”
Kindness and love were the words of the day, as smiles and hugs were shared throughout the room. The event wrapped up with Christmas carols. During the second dinner, the singing turned into a competition, overseen by RISE’s Claude Walsh.
“Silent Night” was sung twice, once by the right side of the room and again by the left side of the room. Both times, Everage’s professional voice joined them, adding beauty and magic to the a cappella music.
The Christmas dinner has been served for many years and will continue in years to come, with seasoned members of the organization dedicated to community service, led in 2020 by incoming president Sandy Sanborn.