Just days before Christmas, members of the Mineral Area Elks Lodge 2583 in Desloge were celebrating the holiday with a feast of festive food prepared especially for their special guests.
Approximately 75 area veterans gathered at the lodge Dec. 21 to enjoy a delicious Christmas dinner provided each year by its members.
No matter their background or their current situation, each veteran was warmly welcomed to the luncheon. All appeared to enjoy both the food and fellowship as lodge members brought food and drink to each of the tables.
The volunteers seemed to have a great time, too, as they were being given the opportunity to do something special for their fellow veterans.
The homemade pan fried chicken, meatloaf, side dishes and dessert was cooked, as is every holiday meal, by Veterans Committee Chairman Buttons Gibson with the help of a number of assistants.
When asked why the lodge goes out of its way each year to provide veterans a free dinner at Christmas and Thanksgiving, Gibson said, "We do it for them. You can look at them and see they really enjoy it."
Exalted Ruler Roland Seal said, "We're very glad to be able to provide these men and women a delicious Christmas meal as a small way of saying thanks for their service to our country."
Many of the veterans attending Thursday's meal are residents of area senior adult facilities.
"For many of them, it's one of the only times they have a chance to get out all year," Seal said. "We want to do as much as we can to make them feel at home, feed them a nice meal and help them to realize that there are people who care about them at this special time of the year."