Volunteers of all ages help put on annual Sparta community Christmas dinner

An annual tradition made sure everyone had a place to spend the Christmas holiday.

The Sparta American Legion hosted its community Christmas dinner on Monday. It’s the 27th year people from the Sparta area could go to the Legion to get their Christmas ham, sweet potatoes and green bean casserole.

About 100 meals were also delivered to those who couldn’t leave home.

The event has become such a staple in the community that some families make it an annual tradition to have their Christmas Day meal there.

“You have this nice atmosphere that you get to see friends that you might not see during the holidays, especially as it gets colder, so it’s a nice little social time for them,” said Sparta American Legion Post 100 Commander Fawn Brickman.

More than a thousand meals are given out for free every Christmas at the Legion.

With that many people served, it takes dozens of people to put on the dinner, and that includes volunteers of all ages.

That includes 10-year-old Grace Levere, who says she’s been helping out for the past two or three years. This year, she made sure everyone’s coffee cups stayed full.

“I want to volunteer because it’s good to help the community and help others,” said Levere.

“It’s good to see the spirit of Christmas, even in our children,” said one person who attended this year’s dinner.

More than 20 people signed up ahead of time to volunteer for the dinner, but organizers say they always get many more who show up the day of the event wanting to help.