An annual Christmas Day dinner will once again serve the community with food and fellowship; however this year’s event will also honor its founder, who passed away just last month.

The yearly gathering is hosted at the American Legion Devereaux Post 141 in Howell Township and begins with the delivery of Christmas Dinner for the Senior Nutrition service, Meals on Wheels, and other shut-ins throughout Livingston County. Nearly 500 meals were served last year.

After delivered meals have been sent out, a free traditional Christmas dinner is served from noon to 4pm at the American Legion Post to anyone who wishes to join. The event was founded by Dale Harter, who was a past post Commander and past club manager. He came up with the idea 37 years ago as a newly divorced man who felt there must be others in the same boat as him, alone on a holiday. That day he cooked a dinner, invited friends who otherwise would be alone to join him, and pledged to make it an annual event.

Harter wanted the day to be filled with food and fellowship for those who needed a boost of Christmas spirit and a hot meal. Sadly, the dinner and Post lost Dale Harter this year, following his passing in November. Event organizers say true to his initial goal, the dinner will live on to bring cheer on Christmas Day.

Community members looking for that comradery are encouraged to join the American Legion on Christmas Day, whether it is as a guest or volunteer. Organizers say gift cards or certificates are also always welcome to help support the event. Those looking to make a reservation or meal delivery request are asked to contact the Post at 517-546-2534.