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Local Volunteers Serve Up Community Christmas Dinner

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Many people in the Quad Cities spend their Christmas Day volunteering their time to help others. At The Oasis in East Moline, they're cooking a free community dinner that means much more than just a meal.

"We have a lot of people at our church that have a heart for helping others," says Volunteer, Carol Snyder.

The Oasis is part of Faith Walk World Outreach Center in Silvis, Illinois. It's a donation center during the year, but on Wednesday, December 25th, 2013 it was used for the 2nd Annual Sonja Brown Memorial Christmas Dinner.

"This is something Sonja got us started on many years ago," says Sonja's Sister-in-law, Vicki Brown.

Vicki says Sonja loved to organize big meals for her family and community every year on her daughter, Kristin's birthday... a birthday that almost didn't happen.

"When I was almost born, they lost my heartbeat - down to one beat per minute," explains Kristin Brown. "They didn't think I'd survive."

In memory of Sonja and all the meals she put on, her family puts on a free Christmas meal for anyone who needs it.

"Some people can't do it financially, some people can't do it physically, and some people are just by themselves and it's just too much, so we get together and it's a family event," says Vicki.

It's a community event as well. All the food is donated... from Vicki's Grandmother's rolls to five turkeys, a ham, and six roasts given to the Browns without any taking in return.

Vicki says she and her husband were "called" to organize the event and she doesn't regret it.

"The best gift that we had already this Christmas was probably three weeks ago. We had a woman who came up to us and say - 'Thank you so much, because I don't have anybody else.' This is why we do this."

The Oasis recently celebrated its second year of operation. The Center includes clothes, furniture, and household items and is located at 1925 13th Street in East Moline and is open for donation drop-offs or visitors on Fridays (10am-3pm) and Saturdays (10am-1pm).