Sparta Christmas Dinner unites community each year - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Sparta Christmas Dinner unites community each year

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SPARTA, Wisconsin (WXOW) – The motto no one should ever go hungry, especially on Christmas, is the reason Eve Heitzman started the Sparta Community Christmas Dinner.

It's a free dinner every Christmas at the Sparta American Legion.

Heitzman serves homemade turkey, cranberries, and pumpkin pie for desert.

When the dinner started about 20 years ago, just 75 people attended.

Now, close to 1,000 come for the meal and to wish their neighbors a "Merry Christmas."

"I grew up way, way poor. I'm a war baby. We never had enough to eat," Heitzman said. "And I don't want that to happen to anybody. So that's really my main reason (for hosting the dinner). And then on the other hand, I enjoy the people enjoying themselves."

Eve said she never asks for volunteers to help cook, serve or wash dishes.

After all these year, they just show up to keep the tradition alive.

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