Area nonprofits serving Christmas dinners

Harmony Café & Eileen’s Home for the Holidays

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Harmony Café and Eileen’s Home for the Holidays are gearing up to serve hundreds of holiday meals to the community this week.

Harmony Café will serve a free takeout dinner at United Methodist Church in Patchogue on Saturday, Dec. 23, from noon to 2 p.m.

Eileen’s Home for the Holidays will serve a free takeout dinner and distribute toys to needy children and teenagers on Christmas Day at That Meetball Place in Patchogue, from 12:30 to 3 p.m.

It’s the 6th year Harmony Café has served up a holiday meal. It expects to serve as many as 250 people, Harmony Café founder and president Rosemarie McCarthy said.

The Dec. 23 event follows a Thanksgiving dinner Harmony Café held at Toast Coffeehouse in downtown Patchogue, on Nov. 21. The organization had some funds left over and decided to offer something for Christmas.

“People were very generous, and we wanted to do it,” McCarthy said.

Rudi’s Bar & Grill donated the food for Dec. 23. The menu will feature eggplant rollatini, penne alla vodka, and ziti and meatballs, along with salad and holiday desserts.

Eileen’s Home for the Holidays will be holding its 15th annual community holiday meal.

The organization was started by a group of friends from Patchogue-Medford High School, who delivered about 100 meals the first year. It expanded to offering sit-down dinners and switched to takeout meals during the pandemic. It served almost 600 people last year, said Pete Picataggio, one of the event’s organizers.

“This is our Christmas. This is what we do,” said Picataggio, who will be flying in from California to help run the event.

Picataggio and his helpers will be offering a choice of meals donated by area restaurants, including dessert and choice of entree: a traditional Christmas dinner with either turkey or roast beef; an Italian dinner with ziti and meatballs; a Latino cuisine with empanadas and rice and beans; or a kids’ meal with chicken fingers and mac and cheese.

Picataggio said they’re expecting a large crowd this year, with some people lining up as early as 9 a.m.

“Sometimes, people in need just want to know that someone cares,” he said.