Sandra Haynes of Sycamore was one of about 185 appreciative people Saturday evening at Flippin Eggs Restaurant in DeKalb, which held a free holiday dinner for people in need.
“They don’t ask you no questions. They don’t ask you where you’re from. You just come and you eat and you say, ‘Thank you.’ They give you a gift and then you go on your way. They’re very, very nice,” she said.
Haynes, who has been out of work since 2005, brought four people along with her, including a neighbor who was celebrating his 70th birthday.
The meal consisted of pork chops with mashed potatoes, gravy and corn, spaghetti, toast, chicken noodle or beef barley soup, apple cake and a choice of beverage. Each person also received a free gift.
Scott and Maria Morrow, the restaurant’s owners, started hosting the free holiday dinner for those in need eight years ago when they owned Tommy O’s restaurant in Sycamore, and they have continued the event at their current restaurant at 831 S. Fourth Street in DeKalb.
Sixteen volunteers helped serve the food, along with the Morrow’s 5-year-old daughter, Alexus.
“Growing up, myself, and my wife, Maria as well – we didn’t have a lot of money, either,” Scott Morrow said. “A lot of these people are faces I haven’t seen. We try to put people together who don’t know each other so that nobody eats alone – so they have somebody to talk to, somebody to relate to.”
The atmosphere was festive. At one point, the standing-room only crowd broke out into an impromptu verse of “Jingle Bells.”
About 400 gifts were donated by the community. The gifts that are left over will be dropped off at Hope Haven and Safe Passage shelters in DeKalb.