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Appleton Easter dinner saved by community

Posted: 5:32 PM, Apr 21, 2019
Updated: 2019-04-21 18:32:44-04
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APPLETON, Wis. — The Easter dinner in Appleton has been a tradition for more than 30 years and continued this Easter Sunday after some concerns that the annual dinner wouldn't happen.

Volunteers came out to help We Care Meals host the dinner at Capitol Centre.

"There's a lot of us that are alone, and this gives us some place to go besides sitting at our house," said Rulene Delong who was spending her Easter at the dinner.

She told us her kids are scattered all around the country, and she'd be alone besides the few family members she was at the meal with like her granddaughter Jesica Berry and her daughter.

"I live by myself and my daughter, so I don't have nobody besides my grandmother, so the fact that I'm basically here around other people and not having no family, it's wonderful," said Berry.

That's exactly what this event is about: a free meal, delicious food, and making sure no one is alone.

"It's like a family holiday. We try to make it seem like a holiday meal, just come in and relax. A lot of people are just lonely," said Ed Rathsack who organized the event.

The dinner almost didn't go on when they didn't have the funds to pay for it.

Rathsack said once the community caught wind of the cancellation, they stepped up and helped raise enough money to continue the tradition.

Nearly one hundred volunteers were at the event to deliver meals to people's homes if they couldn't make it out.

"Everyone that gets a home delivery is asked if they want to share a meal with someone. If they choose so, then our person delivering will sit and have dinner with them," explained Rathsack.

For people like Berry and Delong, this Easter dinner brightened their holiday.

"The people are welcoming here. They talk to you. They're sweet. The food is great," said Berry.