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Senior citizens spend 43rd annual Christmas dinner together

Posted at 6:40 PM, Dec 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-25 20:39:12-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo.  — For the 43rd year, volunteers and local businesses are making sure everyone has a place to go for Christmas dinner.

Retired Kansas City police office Richard White has been hosting his family dinner for elderly people since 1977.

White started the tradition when his boss asked him to come up with an idea to benefit the community.

"We have the largest family Christmas dinner in Kansas City," White said. "It went from 35 people to close to 600."

White said the tradition is a way to bring seniors together who don't have other family members to spend the holiday with.

"Some are wealthy. Some are poor. Some are high-class. Some are low-class," White said. "It doesn't make any difference, if you're alone, you're alone."

The event has grown to include three different locations over the years. Everyone who reserves a spot gets an authentic Christmas meal, right down to the pie.

For Robert Salsman, the dinner brings back fond memories of his time volunteering at it years ago.

"I started serving maybe 20-25 years ago and now I'm on the receiving end," Salsman said.

Salsman said he appreciates all the effort that goes into the dinner.

"It makes you feel good," Salsman said. "It's wonderful. It's a happy place. The volunteers are fantastic, and then you meet a lot of new people and you're not alone."