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Families in Need Line Up for Christmas Dinners

By Chloe Riley | December 22, 2012 6:24pm

PORTAGE PARK — More than 400 low-income northwest side families received complimentary Christmas dinner fixings at a North Side family services center on Saturday.

From 10 a.m. to noon, parents and children lined up inside Metropolitan Family Services’ North Center location, 3249 N. Central Ave., to fill reusable bags with a ham or turkey, potatoes, gravy, canned vegetables, stuffing and pie.

This is the second year Metropolitan Family Services, which serves low-income Chicago families, has hosted the event, sponsored by MillerCoors.

Jovida Mendoza, 39, of Belmont Cragin, said she heard about the meal through an after-school program her children attend at Hanson Elementary.

“I didn’t have too much money for the Christmas meal, so this will help me out,” she said through a translator.

Mendoza, a stay-at-home mom, will be feeding a family of seven on Christmas day.

Mark White, a chain accounts manager for MillerCoors, was on hand Saturday to greet families and direct them to the goods, offering welcomes and smiles.

“It’s an easy sell. We just want to give you a Christmas dinner,” he said.

This year, MillerCoors gave out 400 meals at Metropolitan’s North Center location, feeding an estimated 3,000 people.

Next year the company hopes to double that, according to John Holland, CEO of Town and Country Distributers, a partner of MillerCoors.

Ada Rosario, a 43-year-old mother of two from Albany Park, said she originally had no plan for Tuesday’s meal.

“I had no clue, no idea what I was going to do,” she said. “But now, this will be our Christmas dinner. This will be perfect.”

Rosario, who works part-time in medical records, opted for the ham.

“This is my first time making ham. I’ll probably have to Google it, but it will be great,” she said.