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      Macomb community gathers over holiday meal and fellowship

      Christmas is a time for families to come together, but unfortunately, many people spend the holiday alone. That's why the Maple Avenue Church in Macomb opened it's doors to the community Christmas Eve.

      Volunteers helped organize a traditional Christmas meal Tuesday.

      More than four hundred Macomb residents came together to enjoy good food and good company.

      "It's goes beyond just feeding people a meal. It's about fellowship, its community and coming together," Event coordinator Erin Hill said.

      Sixty-five volunteers from the Maple Avenue Church spent Christmas Eve cooking instead of relaxing. Their goal was to give a memorable meal to anyone in the community who wanted to join them.

      Hill says the church prepared more than 500 pounds of food.

      "We will have some people that come in to dine with us here at the church from five till six. But we have a lot of volunteers in our congregation that will go out into the community and deliver meals to people, who for one reason or another cant get out this holiday," Hill said.

      She also said donations from congregation members and local grocery stores paid for the food.

      "Definitely appreciate the community's support we gotten this year. We had a lot of people outside of our congregations that have donated," Hill said.

      The tradition was started in 2006.

      "It's an opportunity for us to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ,with those who may or may not know him. Have maybe walked way from him or are traveling on their own road and they desire to get back into a relationship with him. The food just provides us a mean to interact with people," Hill said.

      Senior minister Donnie Case says the dinner serves to nourish attendants more spiritually than physically.

      "This is more of a ministry of the soul, than it is a ministry of the belly, if you will. The food just provides us with a great opportunity to minister to others," Hill said.

      After the meal, the church provided a Christmas Eve service as well.