After 40 years – it’s still a Christmas tradition that’s going strong in Salina.
The “Bill Fekas Family Christmas Dinner” is fast approaching. Economic hurdles over the past four decades and even a world wide pandemic in 2020 did not stop Fekas from serving his community, switching to the “to go” model for the the meal.
The pick-up only version will be held again this year at the 4-H Building from 11am to 2pm on Christmas Day.
Fekas has been preparing a free community-wide Christmas dinner since the early 1980s. He 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 has grown exponentially. Fekas, with the help of a small army of volunteers is preparing to feed about 5,000 people this year. “We’ll prepare over 200 turkeys and peel a half-ton of potatoes for the meal,” Fekas said.
The longtime chef adds the goal of the meal is very simple, to put a smile on the face of everyone. Along with a turkey dinner and all the trimmings, the team will be handing out several frozen pizzas compliments of Schwan’s.
Free delivery is also possible and can be lined up on Christmas Day only, beginning at 6am by calling, 785-826-6531 or 785-826-6532.
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, and struggles to come close to breaking even.
Those who want to send a check can mail it to:
Bill Fekas Family Christmas Dinner
PO Box 2173
Salina, Kansas 67401