The Grand Central Station Dining Car soup kitchen in Sherman held its annual Christmas gathering Friday morning for the homeless and indigent population. Fourteen volunteers served 187 people a special meal. In addition to the food, visitors were given a gift bag.
The Dining Car opened its doors in 2010 and has since served over 226,393 client lunch meals with more than 54,711 hours of volunteer and group service. GCS helps the homeless and underserved population by serving nutritious meals, providing shower and laundry facilities and referring individuals to other groups and people for medical, dental and other social services.
GCS is funded by donations of food and money from local donors, foundations and businesses. Executive Director Karen Bray said they appreciate the community support they receive.
“We’re so grateful to everybody that supports this mission,” Bray said. “It’s supporting our community and supporting those that may be in hard times right now. That’s what we’re here for. We’re very appreciative of everything they do to make this happen.”
Friday’s lunch was different from the usual meal in celebration of the holiday. GCS Volunteer Coordinator Dorothy McKee said cake, ice cream and gifts were given to those that attended. The gift bags included toiletries, gloves, socks, flashlights, hats, scarfs, gloves and candy.
“We always try to be a little special on the holidays because not everyone gets a special holiday,” McKee said. “The gifts have been donated from the community. We also have a wonderful cake and ice cream that’s donated by Mom’s Bakery every month. We usually use it for birthdays but today it’s for Christmas.”
McKee went on to explain those in attendance at the event are mostly regulars.
“They knew it was a Christmas party so everybody came,” McKee said. “A lot of people come everyday at 9 a.m. and then stay until after lunch. It’s a visiting place. They help one another and they mentor one another. They really becomes a community. A lot of them feel like it’s their family. It’s a happy place.”
Don Wilburn, 82, has been going to the Dining Car regularly since it opened.
“These people are very nice,” Wilburn said. “This is the best thing that ever happened to Sherman. Everybody knows me in here.”
The Dining Car is located at 110 Throckmorton St in Sherman. It is open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Mondays through Fridays and 10 a.m. to noon on Saturdays.