For the 33rd year in a row Salina Chef Bill Fekas prepared the biggest Christmas dinner in Salina. A large crowd enjoyed the annual Bill Fekas Family Christmas Dinner.
Fekas had a dream in 1982 to prepare and serve a free dinner for anyone who was alone on Christmas Day. Late Salina businessman Dean Evans told him to get the ball rolling and he would pay the bill. That first year there were about 30 people at the event.
Over the years the dinner, which is still free to anyone who wants to attend, has grown exponentially. Fekas tells KSAL News that he prepared enough food this year, including over 200 turkeys, to feed over 4,000 people.
The goal of the meal is very simple, to put a smile on the face of everyone who attends. Along with a turkey dinner and all the trimmings, there are gifts for the kids and live entertainment.
The event this year did not disappoint. A large crowd was already gathered when the doors opened at 11:00.
For those who couldn’t make it to the meal, volunteers stayed busy making home deliveries.
Fekas says that he would never be able to pull off such a large event without a lot of volunteers. He says this year there were over 100 people in his small army of volunteers.
While the dinner is free for all who attend, it isn’t free for Fekas. Each year he depends on donations to help make it possible.
Fekas says that cash donations have dropped off dramatically this year.
“We really do need help this year because I have had some major donors cut their giving by half,” Fekas said.
“I would appreciate so much, a gift in any amount to help with the cost of the meal.”
Those who want to send a check can mail it to : Bill Fekas Family Christmas Dinner – PO Box 2173 – Salina Kansas 67401.