1 turkey, 10 meals tradition

December 25, 2007 9:22:45 PM PST
Steve DiOrio and his wife, Barb, started a holiday tradition in 1981, cooking one turkey and delivering ten meals. Hundreds of volunteers spent Christmas morning in kitchen spaces donated by schools, churches, VFW halls and firehouses preparing dinners for seniors and shut-ins in Camden, Burlington and Gloucester counties.

Students from Cherokee High School baked and bagged thousands of cookies for dessert.

"It is rewarding and it is very frustrating because you think you're missing someone. You know there's someone out there who has to be alone. That is why we do the best we can to serve as many people as possible," Steve DiOrio said.

Among the volunteers are DiOrio's daughter Angela and future son-in-law, Pat Holston, who quickly learned feeding the hungry comes with joining the family.

"I knew they did it last Christmas and other years. Angela told me about her father's involvement before in this program. It's a great program; it's a nice thing that they do and I'm glad to help out," Holston said.

Volunteer Rhoda Herrold doesn't celebrate Christmas, but certainly shares the holiday spirit.

"We have a word in Hebrew that mitzvah. It means a good deed and to me this is one of the mitzvahs that every Jewish person is supposed to perform. It just makes my heart sing," Herrold said.

Once the meals were all delivered and the kitchen got cleaned up, Steve DiOrio and his family finally got to have their holiday celebration. Pretty soon, they'll be planning to deliver meals again on Easter.