Local businessmen, volunteers deliver hot meals on Christmas Day


Six years ago, the owners of two Seymour businesses decided they wanted to do something on Christmas Day for the people of the community that had helped make their business endeavors successful.

So Shawn Malone with the Brooklyn Pizza Company, and Brian “Bubba” and Jessica D’Arco with Bubba’s Place, decided to go with something they knew how to do pretty well — serving meals.

The idea has become so successful that more than 100 volunteers put together and delivered more than 1,000 meals Monday throughout Jackson County and surrounding communities.

Malone said he and the D’Arcos originally come up with the idea of providing and delivering hot meals as way to thank the community for its patronage of their businesses.

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Three years ago, Mike and Katie Hall with The Pines joined in, and they now prepare the food and other volunteers assemble and deliver the meals.

“We’re all blessed to get to do what we do and what better way to give back to our community than the way we make our living,” Malone said. “We all sell food and pay our bills that way, so that’s how we want to give back — with food.”

D’Arco agreed and said helping the community that supports local businesses is a priority.

“We’ve been in business for 17 years here in January and we feel it’s important to take some of our time and give back to the community that supports us,” he said.

Each meal contained a serving of ham or turkey along with a side of mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans, baked beans, corn, a roll, dessert and a bottle of water. Volunteers lined the front dining room of the pizza shop in an assembly-like fashion to hand off the meals to volunteers who crowded around the shop eager to deliver.

Hall and employees from The Pines began preparing the food in the early morning hours of Christmas Day so volunteers only had to prepare the meals and deliver them, which has been a big help.

“They started at like 4 or 5 in the morning,” Malone said. “It has really taken a load off of us from having to do that part.”

This is the second year the group has expanded its offering to other parts of Jackson County.

“Last year, Scott Jackson wanted to be more active in the Brownstown, Medora, Vallonia area, so we relinquished all those meals his way,” he said of the offering.

Meals also were delivered to Crothersville and some communities in Bartholomew, Jennings and Scott counties.

Malone later said those areas received more than 285 meals.

“We’ve opened the boundaries up a little bit,” he said.

Some local businesses and organizations decided to meet up and help deliver meals.

On-duty firefighters delivered meals to the elderly in their fire engine.

Dr. George Mansfield and Dr. Weldon Thurman, along with employees from Seymour Family Dentistry, organized an effort to deliver 54 of the meals.

“We just like to give back to the community and Heather (patient coordinator) came up with the idea to help this time of year,” Mansfield said while waiting in line to gather assembled meals. “We know Bubba and he helped us with what we needed to do.”

Mansfield said he and his family simply rearranged their Christmas schedule so they could deliver the meals.

“We’d normally be eating and my dad is at home cooking right now,” he said with a laugh. “We pushed off our Christmas dinner a little bit just to come down here.”

Malone said witnessing that kind of giving spirit is his favorite part of the event.

“My favorite part is seeing all the volunteers and knowing people are giving up their Christmas morning to be here,” he said. “These people are giving completely out of their hearts.”

D’Arco, who also made other Christmas arrangements with his family, said he too thinks it’s special to see the number of people that show up to help.

“It’s amazing the number of people that come to help us out,” he said as he was taking sheets of dinner rolls out of pizza ovens. “Knowing people have at least one hot meal on Christmas is special.”

Malone and the D’Arcos started the project by simply asking friends for donations and to volunteer. Since then, local businesses have started to contribute and some in big ways.

“Ranger Enterprises started it off our third year by stepping up with a $1,000 donation,” Malone said. “That really set the pace and showed some other sponsors what we could do with their donations.”

Both decided years ago they wanted to make this event their Christmas tradition.

“We decided this was going to be our labor of love on Christmas,” Malone said. “We see growth each year in our numbers and get a lot of repeat volunteers that step up and know what they did last year and drivers just show up, deliver meals and come back to just keep delivering.”

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