At Greenbriar, a Christmas dinner with friends

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Carol Tipling [on left] served fellow Greenbriar residents. at a Christmas Eve luncheon at the Greenbriar I clubhouse in Brick. [DANIELLA HEMINGHAUS | THE OCEAN STAR]

BRICK TOWNSHIP — Christmas Eve is usually a time to be enjoyed with family.

For residents of the Greenbriar I adult community who would otherwise have been alone for the holiday, it has become a tradition to enjoy a Christmas Eve meal in the company of friends.

“We started doing this last year for people who either didn’t have family or who didn’t have any place to go and people really enjoyed it so we decided it would become a Greenbriar tradition,” said Donna Curtis, president of the Greenbriar I board of trustees during a luncheon get together on Dec. 24.

“It’s Christmas Eve … it’s just nice to know that people have an opportunity to be social and it’s very important, for older people, especially, to have that social contact. This way they come, they don’t have to worry, they could have a good meal and we send them home with some take-home food.”

The new tradition has already helped to draw in members of the community.

The Knights of Columbus helped by donating prepared food, while volunteers from Willow Springs Rehabilitation & Healthcare Center on Burnt Tavern Road also stopped by to serenade residents with Christmas carols.

It has been a challenging year for many residents in Greenbriar I. This year 100 homes were heavily damaged due to torrential rainstorms in August.

The troubles of the past year seemed to drift away for a brief period of time.

“It was a tough year,” Mrs. Curtis said.

The auditorium at the Greenbriar clubhouse was decked in Christmas lights, with a tree to boot.

Volunteers staffed the kitchen and did the serving. Several said they got as much out of holding the communal meal as those they were helping.

This is an excerpt of the print article. For more on this story, read The Ocean Star—on newsstands Friday or online in our e-Edition.