Thanksgiving is a horrible time to have to eat alone, and the Brownwood community stepped up 25 years ago and remedied the need for that to happen with its overwhelming response to the Feast of Thanksgiving.

But itís no less merry to be alone on Christmas Day.

Enter the Salvation Army Service Center in Brownwood, which already provides a hot, nutritious and abundant lunch to any who will come on weekdays.

But Christmas is a time when places like this, along with most other businesses and retailers, are closed.

That wonít the case this year at the local Salvation Army.

Staff members and volunteers at the center will be serving a meal from noon to 1 p.m. to anyone who would like to join others. That number might include people with no secure home, and it might include people who have a good home but have no family or friends with whom to share this special day in the Christian world.

Also on hand will be a dedicated group of volunteers who will begin arriving at 8 a.m. to prepare for the meal. They will be using food and holiday goodies donated by members of community who may, or may not, be able to participate at the center on Christmas Day.

Perhaps itís a small gesture, but itís an important one, and it shows again the heart of this community. And the plans of the Salvation Army also serve as a reminder that the Christmas season will not necessarily be merry and bright for many of our neighbors who are suffering financial hardships, emotional crisis, family separation or the death of a loved one.

Christmas is a time for family, but above all itís also a time for caring for each other.

Brownwood Bulletin