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KNOW OF ANYONE WHO COULD REALLY USE A CHRISTMAS MEAL?

SHARE KNOW OF ANYONE WHO COULD REALLY USE A CHRISTMAS MEAL?

For once the cupboard isn't bare.

Volunteers for the Christmas Homebound Project say they have plenty of food to take care of hundreds of needy and isolated people this Christmas, but they still need to know who can use or wants help."If you know of someone who needs Christmas dinner and a visit in their home because of age, illness, lack of money or family, please call 263-4003 and they will be included on Christmas Day," said Karen Clark, a volunteer in the program, which was started in 1987.

"Fellow Utah homebound shut-in people outnumber the homeless. They live in isolation and poverty - many with no family or friends, even on the holidays. They are less known than the homeless because they are less visible to the community. Most are too proud or timid to request a meal and a visit for themselves, so we (the Homebound Project) receive their names from a friend or neighbor who cares," said Clark.

Food for the project is all donated. Chris Ritzakis, a Greek immigrant, who many years ago began serving free meals in West Jordan to needy people on Thanksgiving, and a group of volunteers will prepare hot food that will be delivered to people in their homes.

Ritzakis, owner of Nector's Restaurant at 979 S. State, said those who would prefer to eat a free meal on Christmas Day at the restaurant may do so between 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

"Counting all the meals that will be delivered in the Salt Lake Valley, we are planning to serve about 2,000 people," Ritzakis said.

He said about 1,500 pounds of turkey will be prepared for the meal, which also will include soup, yams, dressing, cranberry sauce, vegetables, a drink and dessert.

Clark said about 450 volunteers delivered the food in 1987, the last time the project was conducted.

Ross Broadbent, another volunteer, said all food, services and financial contributions for the project are donated by businesses and private individuals.

Broadbent said the Homebound Project grew out of working with Ritzakis in 1987.

"Chris had extra food, and we called radio and television stations and newspapers to let them know we had meals that could be delivered to people who couldn't get out. We delivered nearly 500 meals during the Thanksgiving of 1987, and became aware of the vast number of people who have no family, who are either ill or handicapped or who don't have a car other transportation to get out. We decided to reach out to that group on Christmas because no one else was serving them," he added.