A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Sunday Morning Club continues a 34-year tradition: Free Christmas dinner or take-out at two locations

The 34th Annual Northern Kentucky Christmas Day Dinner returns to a sit-down dinner this year but at a new location – The Gardens of Park Hills.

Due to last year’s COVID-19 breakout, the free dinner was served to guests who drove through or walked-up to the Parish Kitchen in Covington. Meals only will be served again this year to guests who walk-up at the Parish Kitchen, 1561 Madison Ave. from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Christmas Day.

Gardens of Park Hills

But the full dinner, gifts, toys for the kids and more will be served free-of-charge from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Christmas Day at The Gardens of Park Hills, 1622 Dixie Highway in Park Hills, which is operated by McHale’s Events and Catering and is located next to Covington Catholic High School.

Guests can park in The Gardens parking lot or take the TANK Bus Route #1 from the TANK Covington Transit Center on Madison Avenue in downtown Covington.

“We felt that we can serve more people with two locations,” said Tom Hall, a retired Covington firefighter and a member of The Sunday Morning Club, one of the lead sponsors and organizers of the dinner. “Guests can sit down for dinner and receive gifts and more at The Gardens, or they receive just the meal at The Parish Kitchen.”

Doors at The Gardens will open at 10:30 a.m. Reservations are not needed but masks will be required.

As it has for more than 25 years, McHale’s Events and Catering will prepare the Christmas Day meal, which includes turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, rolls, dessert, and more. Owner Chuck McHale, members of his family and other volunteers annually prepare the hundreds of meals that will be served on Christmas Day.

“It has become tradition for our family, and really for a lot of people, especially our long-time volunteers and organizers,” McHale said. “It’s a great way to give back.”

In addition to a tremendous Christmas dinner buffet, guests also receive gifts, groceries, warm clothes, personal care items, and more. Kids receive toys and can visit with Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Frosty the Snowman.

The dinner could not take place each year without the generous donation of time volunteers give back to the community and to those in need.

To volunteer for the Christmas Day Dinner at The Gardens of Park Hills, sign up here or contact Lynn Haney at 859-240-5603 or HaneyL@fuse.net.

In addition to McHale’s Events and Catering/The Gardens at Park Hills and The Sunday Morning Club, sponsors for this year’s dinner are Busken Bakery, Cincinnati Building Trades, Ron and Bonnie Halderman, Ironworkers Local 44, KZF Design, Master Provisions, Olive Garden Italian Kitchen, PERFETTI van Melle, Performance Food Group/Reinhart, PETSMART, Remke Markets, Road iD, Scarf It Up, TANK, Burr J. Travis, Tressa Inc., and Waltz Business Solutions.

The Sunday Morning Club was founded in 1937, following the repeal of Prohibition. Bar owners, bartenders, waitresses, politicians, and others would meet at local Northern Kentucky bars, which could not serve alcohol until 1 p.m. on Sundays. They began raising money for various charities, and over the years have supported The Northern Kentucky Children’s Home, The Protestant Children’s Home, The Diocese of Covington, Care Net, Good Guys Club of Walton, Kelly Elementary, the Indigent Home for Ladies and more. 

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