Holiday tradition for all

Volunteer Bruce Tumyol of Naugatuck serves up eggnog during a Christmas dinner at St. Michael’s Church in Naugatuck in 2016. –RA ARCHIVE

NAUGATUCK — Anyone looking for companionship and a hot meal on Christmas can find both at the annual Christmas Day Dinner.

The dinner is Christmas day, Dec. 25, from 12 to 2 p.m. at St. Michael’s Church, 210 Church St.

Tax Collector James Goggin, who runs the dinner along with his wife, Susan, said anyone is welcome to attend and reservations aren’t necessary.

“Everyone is welcome,” Goggin said. “They can just show up.”

Volunteers will also deliver meals to people in Naugatuck who are unable to make it out to the dinner. Goggin said residents who want a meal delivered can call him at the tax office, 203-720-7051, or on his cell phone, 203-996-6675, for information and to set up a delivery.

The dinner will feature turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, stuffing and vegetables. Goggin expects to deliver around 200 meals and to have another 200 people attend the dinner this year.

The Christmas Day Dinner is a holiday tradition that started over 30 years ago.

Naugatuck resident John Ford and his late wife, Maureen, started the dinner to show their children the true meaning of Christmas. The Fords passed the responsibility of organizing the dinner to Naugatuck resident Mike Kelly in 1999. In 2017, Kelly handed the reins to the Goggins.

Goggin said he and his wife decided to take over and keep the dinner going because there’s a need for it in the borough. In addition, he said, it’s been a good way to introduce volunteerism to the next generation.

“Our kids can help to give back,” Goggin said.

Goggin said there are many volunteers that return year after year to ensure the dinner goes smoothly, and the dinner wouldn’t happen without them. He said there’s always a need for more volunteers. Anyone interested in volunteering can contact Goggin.

The dinner is also in need of donations. To donate, people can send a check to the Tax Office at Naugatuck Town Hall, 229 Church St., or drop off a check at any Ion Bank branch. Checks must be made out to Naugatuck Christmas Dinner.