Crayton seeks donations for holiday meals

Wednesday, December 21, 2011 | 4:09 p.m. CST

COLUMBIA — Almeta Crayton has turned her generosity toward senior citizens this holiday season and is gathering donations to help feed them.

The former First Ward councilwoman is known for her annual Thanksgiving event Everybody Eats!

Crayton said that after working at a nursing home for 25 years, she realized that some senior citizens have limited access to holiday dinners.

“There are larger organizations who can help everybody at Christmas, but they don’t give as much attention to senior citizens,” Crayton said. “Most elderly people are by themselves.”

Several of the senior citizens receiving a holiday food basket this year were also on the list for Everybody Eats!, which provides Thanksgiving meals to families who might not be able to afford their own.

Crayton said she understands the need for help in the community. In March, Columbia residents held a benefit to give back to Crayton when she was being treated for kidney disease.

“I’ve been sick, and I’m trying to do something to reach out and help,” she said.

Crayton said any food donations are welcome, but there is need for meats, such as cooked or frozen chickens or ham, fresh or canned vegetables and other canned goods. Other items, including trimmings, pies, boxed or pre-made desserts, juices and sodas, are appreciated.

Crayton and several volunteers will put together baskets for home deliveries, and the seniors will prepare the meals themselves.

Crayton is asking for food donations to be brought to her home, 409 Oak St., by Thursday night or Friday morning. She asks that donors call her at 825-5263 before coming to her house.

For the past 15 years, Crayton has also hosted the Poor People’s Breakfast on Martin Luther King Day. This January, the breakfast will be held from 7:30 a.m. to noon at St. Luke United Methodist Church, 204 E. Ash St. Crayton extends the invitation to all who wish to attend.

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