by Mia Summerson
Niagara Gazette — For 30 years, Yvonne Davis has been following what she says is her calling in life. That calling is helping others during times of need.
Each year she, along with her husband Matt, cook for a Christmas dinner at the VFW Post 917. This year she expects to serve over 500 families dinner, complete with ham, turkey, Yvonne's famous collard greens and a huge selection of deserts.
"Niagara Falls is a giving place," she said. "If there is a need people will give. We've worked with many local businesses, the mayor, council members and of course the VFW."
In addition to providing families with a complete meal, the Davis' also provide clothing and toys, hats and scarves for children.
Meals were being served starting at noon, but before that, with the help of many dedicated volunteers, more than 100 home deliveries were made.
While they pulled it off in the end, the Davis' and their volunteers had to work extra hard this year. Over the summer their basement was one of many in the area that was flooded.
They lost everything. All the appliances and equipment they used to make food was destroyed and they were left with no choice but to start over.
"We've been somewhat successful," Matt said of having to rebuild. "A lot of people came out and supported us. We're thankful that Niagara Falls is so giving."
Along with an annual Christmas dinner, the Davis' serve Thanksgiving and Easter dinners. Despite the flooding, they were able to get everything up and running by Thanksgiving.
Even though the dinner was being served until 6 p.m. the VFW was filling up quickly by noon. Smiling volunteers served food to a line that grew continuously as people gathered at dozens of tables to enjoy their meals with friends and family.
"I come here for the food and to see my excellent friends Matt and Yvonne," said Don Foshee, a former volunteer who has been involved with the dinner for over 10 years. "Everything is great, the collard greens, the corn bread stuffing, the ham, I don't really like macaroni and cheese but it's great here."
While the attendees were certainly enjoying their Christmas meals, the many caring volunteers were very clearly enjoying themselves as well.
"I just like seeing the fellowship and people enjoying a good meal'" said Sue Clark, who has volunteered at the dinner for the past three years. "A lot of these people don't have family in the area so it's nice that they can come here. It could be any one of us."
Yvonne says that they had over 100 total volunteers, each a blessing. Thanks to them, once all the cooking is done, she and Matt are able to sit back and enjoy the fruits of the service that they provide to the Niagara Falls community.
"You look at all the people you meet, see them smiling and happy," she said. "It's glorious."