Prep Serves up Holiday Spirit - WICU12 HD WSEE Erie, PA News, Sports, Weather, Events

Prep Serves up Holiday Spirit

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It's "the most wonderful time of the year", but for families who are struggling, the holidays can be more stressful than merry.

That's why Cathedral Prep, which opened their doors on Sunday, to offer a free Christmas meal to nearly 1,000 people in need.

Walking among the long high school cafeteria tables, it was clear that you can't put a price on generosity.

"I'm grateful," said Nikki Barnes. She and her children were just one family wrapped in the warm giving spirit in Prep's cafeteria.

Students, staff and parents from Prep and Villa hosted their annual Christmas dinner, inviting anyone who might be struggling this holiday to enjoy a festive meal.

"It was good," said Barne's son Jamari Moyer, "I had mashed potatoes, turkey, corn."

"Normally we see anywhere between around 800 people," said Tony Parsons, one of the organizers and a teacher at Prep. "This year we had a line forming well before we even opened, so we're expecting an even bigger turnout this year."

It was impossible not to smile as favorite Christmas tunes wafted through with the smell of holiday treats.

"This is a blessing cause there are a lot of families that don't have this type of meal," said Barnes, "and just to come together get some good food and some presents, this is a blessing."

It's a tradition 23 years strong, which echoes the mission of Cathedral Prep.

"As a Christian school we wanna teach that we're blessed so that we can bless others," said Parsons.

"That's just Prep's message and mission is just helping others, helping the less fortunate," said Marco Montefiori, a Prep Senior and President of the school's Key Club.

That means giving time, money, and supplies, to make the meal happen every year.

"Everything we do here is 100 percent donation. Nothing is mandatory, everything is donated from the families and the kids here," Parsons said.

The generosity wasn't over when the plates were empty. Volunteers played Santa, giving toys to every kid who walked through the door.

Jamari played with his find, a blue and red basketball, while he sat at the table. "I like it because I like the colors, and I like basketball," he said grinning.

"My favorite is seeing all the kids faces," said Villa Sophomore Anna Bloomstine. "They light up when they're playing with their little trucks and everything."

"Christmas is such a joyful holiday and I think everyone deserves to have a good celebration... and some of them don't get to have a meal or get presents," she said.

Donations of any kind are always welcomed, if you want to get involved next year.

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