December 20, 2013

If you're in the Carroll area, add another line to the "12 Days of Christmas" standard.

"Fifteen turkeys a-cooking."

The Carroll Signet 264 Masonic Lodge will again be hosting its annual free Christmas Day dinner. The lodge is located on U.S. Highway 71 north and serving begins at noon. The dinner is open to the public.

Glenn Lockhart, a member of the Carroll lodge and organizer of the dinner, said the Masons cook 15 turkeys to serve more than 200 people - people who would otherwise eat alone or are in financial need. The lodge is planning for up to 300 people this year.

The lodge holds the dinner on Christmas - not Thanksgiving - because it doesn't want to compete with local restaurants, Lockhart said.

"That's when there's no place for people to get something to eat," he said.

Besides turkey, the Masons serve mashed potatoes, dressing, vegetable and desserts. Lodge members and volunteers will begin preparing for the meal with a shopping trip tonight.

Home deliveries in the Carroll area are available and residents who want Christmas dinner dropped off should contact the Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) at (712) 792-4212. Deliveries can also be arranged by contacting Lockhart at (712) 830-7705.

In a typical year, the lodge will deliver about 100 meals. Signet 264 has about 190 members.

Volunteers are welcome to help with cooking and extra help is needed on Christmas to assist with the dinner. Volunteers can contact Lockhart for further information or they can arrive at the lodge by 11:15 a.m. on Christmas Day to help.

"It takes quite a few bodies," Lockhart said.

There is no charge for the dinner, although a free-will offering is accepted.

Hy-Vee, Fareway and Walmart all contributed items for the dinner.

Bill Fish, lodge master in Carroll, stressed that the dinner is for anyone who wants it and that there are no income requirements.

"It's just something that we have provided for years and years," Fish said.