Wednesday, December 19, 2001

Papa Galo's to host dinner for needy in Clermont

Sponsors planning open celebration on Christmas Day

By Lew Moores
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        BATAVIA — Homeless Hotline of Greater Cincinnati is planning its first Clermont Community Christmas Dinner at Papa Galo's restaurant, 2235 Bauer Drive just outside Batavia.

        The free dinner will be on Christmas Day at the restaurant. So far, dinner is scheduled at noon, although a second sitting could be added.

        “It's for anybody and everybody who needs a place to come for Christmas dinner,” said Ed Ritchy, volunteer CEO of the hot line, based in Amelia, which provides resources and referral services for the homeless. “At our Thanksgiving dinner we have a mix of people, senior citizens, homeless people, people with mental illnesses, people with developmental disabilities.”

        Homeless Hotline is sponsoring the dinner along with the restaurant and the Hindu Society of Greater Cincinnati.

        Mr. Ritchy said he looked into holding the Christmas dinner somewhere in downtown Cincinnati, but decided against the idea when he learned that eight or nine agencies serving the needy are already sponsoring Christmas dinners at various locations.

        “We felt there is a real need in the community,” said Mr. Ritchy.

        He said between 100 and 200 people can be accommodated. Organizers are still looking for sponsors to help out with the cost. The Thanksgiving dinner this year fed about 300 at a cost of $1,900. Mr. Ritchy asks that anyone wanting to attend the dinner call first to reserve a place at 797-4344.

        Haytham David, owner of Papa Galo's, said he met Mr. Ritchy about two years ago and was impressed with his dedication to the needy in the county.

        “I was willing to help,” said Mr. David, whose restaurant is normally closed on Christmas Day. “I spend time helping out in the community. Hopefully, this will work out, get a lot of people in here and feed them. It's a time to be joyful.”

        Mr. Ritchy said they plan to serve ham and turkey, and to have live music.


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