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Season of sharing: Pappo continues traditional Christmas Eve soup kitchen

Submitted by on 1, December 16, 2010 – 12:03 amNo Comment

By Liz Barrett

Chef John Thiel is keeping the spirit of giving alive at Pappo by serving a free meal to people in need at his third annual “Community Soup Kitchen” on Christmas Eve.

Friends, family and employees volunteer to serve – and enjoy – Thiel’s classic soups and fresh-baked bread from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the warm, festive environment of his popular downtown bistro.

“We want everyone to be able to sit down at a nice table and enjoy being served,” Thiel said. There are no cafeteria-style lines. Everyone who comes to the party is seated at a formally set table and is served by volunteer wait staff, just as they would be if they were paying customers.

For three hours, Thiel said, the restaurant opens its doors to those in the community who could use a little Christmas but can’t afford it. And since it wouldn’t be Christmas without presents, Thiel and his volunteers set up a free “gift shop” at the front of the bistro, where people can select jackets, sweaters, socks, scarves, hats, gloves, and travel-size toiletries before they sit down to enjoy their meal.

Thiel said he has plenty of volunteers for the event, but he still needs donations from the community to stock the free gift store. All of the items mentioned above are needed to keep people warm through the winter. Donations can be dropped off at Pappo, 2320 Central Avenue, any time the restaurant is open, Thiel said. Call 337-9100 for more information.

Meanwhile, Angela’s Bar & Bistro is also offering a free community meal, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Christmas Day, and everyone’s invited. The meal, which Angela’s is offering, cafeteria-style, in partnership with other local businesses and congregations, will include turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, seasonal vegetables, stuffing and homemade cranberry sauce.

The event’s coordinators are also looking for volunteers to help prepare the meal and serve it. Prep shifts are from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. December 22, 23 and 24 at Rock Wall Wine Company, 2301 Monarch Street, and from 8 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Christmas Day at Angela’s. Two-hour serving, seating and busing shifts are at 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., with a serving and clean-up shift from 2:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Christmas Day.

To volunteer, call 725-2249 or e-mail volunteerfordinner@gmail.com. Angela’s is at 2301 Central Avenue, and their phone number is 522-5822.

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