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Crossroads Christmas -- Volunteers turn out to share time, love

Alcorn Central High School senior volunteer Callie Parmely makes deviled eggs for the Crossroads Christmas event.

Staff photo by Mark Boehler

Love was in the air.

And it smelled like turkey and dressing.

Tommy and Marea Wilson bounced around the Alcorn Central High School cafeteria on Christmas morning directing the many volunteers at the seventh annual Crossroads Christmas, the community's free Christmas Day dinner.

It was running like a well-oiled holiday machine Santa delivered for Christmas.

In the school parking lot, folks dropping off freshly, home cooked traditional Christmas desserts and side dishes were greeted with smiling men wearing red Santa hats who were ready to help unload.

Inside the gym, those with a roar in their tummies found happiness in the food line "" turkey, dressing, yams, peas, corn, cranberry and hot rolls came out on each plate, while "It's a Wonderful Life" could be heard playing on a nearby TV.

Some 500 to-go plates with "Merry Christmas" stickers were already out the door and on the way to prisoners and staffers at the Alcorn County Regional Correction Facility.

"Wow," said Tommy as he briefly stood still for only a second.

"We've got a lot of helpers this year "" more than ever I think," he proclaimed before jumping back on his feet.

"It's time for the prayer," he added.

Thousands of meals were served on the day and not just to those in need, but to anyone in the community looking for a good meal and fellowship.

The event was born from the love of Merea with help in the kitchen from Larry Betts.

"It's about filling a need in the community," she said. "I came up with the idea after my mother died at Christmastime a few years ago. I wanted our family to do something on Christmas Day to give back, and honor her memory."

Pretty soon the event outgrew itself at Living Free Ministries and that's when the Wilson's say the Lord blessed them with Principal Brandon Quinn who opens up the doors at Alcorn Central each year.

"Thank you to everyone who has helped and to everyone who has gave. It takes a lot of folks to put this thing together. A lot of folks that we don't even meet, which is amazing. It's God's work," said Tommy. "There is an undeniable amount of love here today. It's a blessing of Jesus Christ and of each of you.

"Merry Christmas," he added.

(Online donations can be made at livingfreecorinth.com. For more Crossroads Christmas information, contact Marea Wilson at 662-643-7298 or e-mail marea@jumperrealty.com.)