WEST JEFFERSON — For the second year in a row, a free meal was provided on Christmas Eve at Backstreet Subs in downtown West Jefferson through the generosity of those in the county hoping to make a difference.

Despite the wind and rain, volunteers carried items to cars and made sure all who arrived were provided with whatever they needed to have a good Christmas.

Mason Harris, Chrissy Harris, Nathan Elliott and Beth Elliott came up with the idea of creating the event, which was first held on Dec. 24, 2019.

From 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Dec. 24, anybody in need of food drove up to the front of the shop and were assisted by volunteers who would provide them with their choice of food. At this year’s event, all food was prepared take-out style due to COVID-19 regulations regarding the number of people allowed to partake in indoor gatherings.

All volunteers donned gloves and masks while preparing and distributing the food in order to keep everybody safe.

Some of the offerings for a Christmas Eve meal included freshly made pulled pork, brisket, candied sprouts, coleslaw and hush puppies from Kristin’s Hook’d on Smoke. Owner Kristin Howell and her daughter, Whitney Younger, cooked and prepared these meals.

Other meal choices included sandwiches or pizza from Little Caesar’s of West Jefferson.

In addition to a hot meal, a box containing various dried goods, fruits and vegetables was given to those who stopped by. Each box also contained a tin filled with candy prepared by Chrissy Harris. A pocket-sized Bible was also included in each box distributed.

A box of donated toys was also present in the restaurant and those with children were able to take toys home with them to brighten their holiday.

In order to make the event possible, there was a large outpouring of support from the community through monetary and food donations.

Local businesses and organizations that donated items or volunteered their time were Kristin’s Hook’d on Smoke Food Truck, Ingles, Little Caesars, Sysco, Hardee’s of Jefferson, Riders of Faith of NC motorcycle ministry and Obids Country Church.

Mason Harris described the effort as just doing God’s will.

“God put this on our hearts to do and that is why we love doing it,” Harris said.

According to Harris, they hesitated about doing the event this year because of strict regulations due to the pandemic. However, they decided that COVID-19 was exactly why they had to continue the event this year because the virus has made everything harder on parents and their children.

He added that they wanted to do whatever they could to help the community because too many people often take for granted what they have while others are struggling or go without.

Following the event, Backstreet Subs posted about the event’s turnout on their Facebook page @Backstreet Subs.

In the post they thanked the community for their support and said they were completely out of food after feeding around 300 people in the county.

Backstreet Subs is located at 209 BackStreet in West Jefferson.

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