As part of the 19th annual Blue Ridge Food and Toy Drive, 175 people were treated to a free holiday community meal on Dec. 2 at the Aquashicola Fire Company. Among the guests attending were residents of Palmer House, a senior centered living center; local veterans, children of Dream Come True - Blue Ridge Chapter and less fortunate individuals and families.

The food was donated and prepared by Anna Marie Melo.

Assisting with decorating and serving the meal were members of the Carbon Mountaineers Detachment 996 Marine Corps League and Blue Mountain Kodas Motorcycle Club.

Following the dinner, the Dream Kids entertained and Santa Claus visited with the children.

Also registration was accepted for the toys through the Blue Ridge Food and Toy Drive, with 50 children registered for toys. Toys were distributed to deserving children on Dec. 4.

Melo has provided and prepared the food for the past 19 years for this community event. Referrals to attend were made through the local food panty, local churches and schools in the Palmerton area.

Also several less fortunate families will be assured of receiving a holiday meal when the Carbon Mountaineers Marine Corps League Detachment 996 and Santa Claus will deliver food baskets next week through the Blue Ridge Food and Toy Drive. Several businesses and individuals have assisted by collecting funds, toys and foods to assist the neediest families for the Christmas holidays.

Following the dinner, a Community Volunteer award was presented to Nick Hawkey, coordinator for the dinner, by Blue Mountain Kodas Motorcycle Club, to recognize him for his role in providing a quality experience at Christmas for local families.