Sunday, December 24, 2000

Dinner for needy gets reprieve

By Susan Vela
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        COVINGTON — An onslaught of last-minute donors means that an annual Christmas dinner for the needy will be as bountiful as in years past.

        Last month, the Mental Health Association of Northern Kentucky was about $2,500 shy of the $6,000 normally required to sponsor its Christmas event, which offers a full holiday meal, visits with Santa and gifts for children and adults on Christmas Day.

        About 1,000 people are expected. In previous years, people have lined up outside the building, waiting for the doors to open.

        Organizers this year were certain they couldn't provide their clients with underwear and socks as usual because of a shortfall. The adult gift items are especially vital, they said, to the homeless people who live near the riverbanks.

        But then the last-minute donors started calling, eager to help. An autumn letter-writing campaign seeking financial help inspired them, said Tom Stanken, the meal's organizer.

        “All the shortfall was taken care of,” he said.

        “We're better off now than we've ever been. We're very blessed. We're just in overabundance right now. We just want to thank everybody for their kindness and consideration.”

        This year's shortfall was mainly due to a Chicago company's business problems. Mr. Stanken believes that company will return to its normal donation level next year.

        The 13th annual Christmas Day dinner is 11 a.m.-4 p.m. at The Point Pavilion, 620 Scott St.


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