Annual Family Place Christmas luncheon raises thousands in support of the Salvation Army

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Main photo: (From left) Krystal Fuller, Major Darren Wiseman, Hilary Nickols, Oliver Wolfe, Jenny Spring carrying baby Jethro, Mike Hamilton, Doug Osmond and Donald Page. (Liz Rice)

The annual Family Place Christmas lunch in support of the Salvation Army Christmas drive was a huge success, raising over $6,686 this year with donations still coming in.

It’s an annual tradition that fills both hearts and bellies, and one that has taken several forms over the past five decades.

The tradition was started by a group of businessmen who routinely met for lunch at the then-Peter’s Restaurant on Main Street in Huntsville. Over the holiday season they would host a lunch for other Huntsville businessmen and ask for donations in support of the Salvation Army Toy Drive.

As the annual event grew and evolved, various area restaurants have taken turns hosting. They include The Sportsman, The Station House, Jesters, and The Cottage. Many years ago, Dino and Bessie Georgas of Family Place Restaurant generously took over the task of planning and executing the luncheon. It is a tradition that Jenny Spring and Oliver Wolfe have generously carried on since they purchased the restaurant.

“This year we are expected to help over 350 families during Christmas,” Major Darren Wiseman said as he thanked all those who came to support the Salvation Army Christmas drive. “Doing that comes with a lot of responsibility and we can’t do that without the help of people like you. Thank you for all you do and for helping us do what we do.”

If you missed the luncheon but still want to support the Salvation Army, one way to do that is with the December 4 Project Porchlight food drive. Listen for the sirens of local emergency vehicles as they move through town collecting non-perishable food items for the Salvation Army’s food bank.

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