Christmas dinner planned to bring people together

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The 3rd annual family-style Christmas dinner takes place from 12 to 1:30 p.m. on Christmas Day at the Harnden Masonic Hall in Wilton. Pictured at a meeting to plan the meal are, from left, Donna Dashnau, Arleen Maselli and Amanda Beane, all of Farmington. The meal is free and everyone is welcome, Maselli said. (Ann Bryant/Sun Media Group)

By Ann Bryant, Staff Writer

WILTON — Bringing people together to break bread as a community is the reason for the 3rd Annual Family Style Christmas Dinner.

Once again, members of the 3C Society are planning the family style meal from 12 to 1:30 p.m. Dec. 25 at Harnden Masonic Hall, 70 Bryant Rd.

The meal is free and open to everyone, Arleen Maselli of Knowlton Corner Farm, said. It is not just for the needy but for everyone and especially those individuals, couples or families who might be alone on the holiday.

A traditional menu of ham, potatoes, squash, rolls, pies and more is served family style by volunteers. Santa Claus even makes an appearance after finishing his Christmas eve visits.

“The idea is to get people together,” she said. “A couple from Auburn even drove up last year.”

For people in the Regional School Unit 9 area, transportation to the meal is available, Amanda Beane of Farmington, said.

Maselli and Beane started the meal at the Chesterville Town Hall two years ago and were joined by Donna Dashnau of Farmington last year when the meal was moved to the Masonic Hall.

The numbers have grown over the last couple years; about 100 people came for dinner last year.

The 3rd annual family-style Christmas dinner takes place from 12 to 1:30 p.m. on Christmas Day at the Harnden Masonic Hall in Wilton. Pictured at a meeting to plan the meal are, from left, Donna Dashnau, Arleen Maselli and Amanda Beane, all of Farmington. The meal is free and everyone is welcome, Maselli said. (Ann Bryant/Sun Media Group)

To accommodate the number, those who plan to attend are asked to call in by Dec. 22. People interested in volunteering or who will donate an item for the event are also asked to call 778-6520.

A wish list of items wanted, including pies, is on their Facebook page, http://facebook.com/3C Society/

One big wish is to find someone willing to volunteer to play music during the dinner on Christmas Day, Beane said.

Volunteers to help with serving tables and drinks are needed along with a cleanup crew. All the volunteers eat together at 1:30, Maselli said.

One fun part of the meal is the peeling party planned for the day before, Donna Dashnau said.

The whole dinner is wonderful, especially for volunteers, she said.

“There is total panic just before people show up but it is total fun,” she said.

Last year, the electricity went out. Gas stoves kept the food cooking and Masonic lodge members showed up with generators. The Masonic trustees allow the use of the hall for free since it is a community event, Maselli said.

In a spin-off from the success of the first two meals, the women came together with a “common goal of making a positive impact in our community” and formed the 3C Society in 2016. The 3C’s stand for Caring, Compassion, and Community, according to the 3C Facebook page.

The women share a mission “to inspire our friends and community members to come together and make a difference in the lives of others” and “to make a positive impact in our community,” according to the Facebook page.

They sponsored an Adapted Paint Night for children with special needs in grades K-6 at the Mallett School in March. It was so well received, they have been asked to do a similar night in other schools, Maselli said.

It was a chance for the children to enjoy something that we enjoy, she said as they painted on their own easel.

A dance for the deaf is in the early stages of planning, she said.

“We love what we do,” Maselli said.

“Yes, we do. It is a sad day, the day after Christmas,” Dashnau agreed.

abryant@sunmediagroup.net

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