300 volunteers provide free Christmas meal in Appleton

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APPLETON, Wis. (WBAY-TV) For many, Christmas means celebrating the holiday with a formal meal.

For 300 volunteers in Appleton on Monday, that meant making sure everyone was welcomed to the table.

Amid the classic sounds of Elvis and a piano, a Christmas meal was served to anyone wanting one.

Ed Rathsack has been helping with the dinner, provided by We Care Meals for more than 30 years.

In that, time he's seen the impact it can have on someone's spirit.

"When you take a meal to someone and you see them crying because they're so excited,” Rathsack said. “If you just look around this room and see people, smiling, laughing and giggling, they might not be doing that otherwise."

That happiness radiated from Randy Caswell and twelve members of his family.

"Get together in a meal setting like this and everyone be happy,” Caswell said. “You can see that we're all happy and enjoying everything today, it does my heart very good and we're richly enjoying everything."

Being delivered or served Monday were 400 pounds of ham, 400 pounds of turkey and the equivalent of 600 pounds of potatoes

Lisa Leids, a native of northeast Wisconsin, is visiting from Los Angeles helping deliver meals with her family.

A simple act, she says, is teaching her sons an important lesson about the act of giving.

"I think it's good for them to learn about ways to give back to their community,” Leids said. “And help people and realize that not everybody has all the Christmas gifts and toys that they have."