To Stratford With Love organizer expects 640 to...
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Nov 27, 2013  |  Vote 0    0

To Stratford With Love organizer expects 640 to attend free meal

Stratford Gazette

Chet Greason

This year’s To Stratford With Love banquet will be held Dec. 14 at the Rotary Complex, a week earlier than in the past.

“We found that, being close to Christmas, people have commitments,” says organizer Richard Kneider.

“People would say, ‘I’d love to come, but the 21st is our Christmas party.’”

Kneider says holding the community dinner earlier is working quite nicely. Organizers are expecting to accommodate 640 patrons; that means 640 baked potatoes, 120-130 pounds of vegetables, and 350-400 pounds of beef, as well as coleslaw, pies, and ice cream. The majority of the food is donated.

“I’m so thankful how readily the community comes together on this,” says Kneider.

The dinner is absolutely free (although tickets are needed). Kneider stresses that the event, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, is not just for those who find themselves on hard financial times.

He tells the story of a wealthy but lonely woman, age 80, who he encouraged to attend.

“She had an incredible time,” he says. “It’s for whoever needs that kind of fellowship over the Christmas season.”

Kneider expects as many as 150 volunteers to help with setting up, cooking, serving, and clean up. Performers from Bethel Pentecostal Church will present a blacklight presentation, and the Stratford Concert Band will be on hand playing live music.

Tickets can be picked up from Richard and Ruth Kneider, as well as at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore, City Hall, Madelyn’s Diner, the House of Blessing, and the Salvation Army.

Those interested in volunteering are encouraged to contact Richard’s daughter Katey at, while food donations can be brought to the event itself.

“We can always use more pies,” says Kneider.

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