People of all ages took part in the 29th annual Bandera Family dinner today (Christmas).  Hundreds enjoyed a free turkey dinner with all the trimmings provided by the Bandera family, local businesses and dozens of volunteers.

Bill Bandera is the President of The Bandera Family and Community Alliance, Inc. and heads up the annual event.  He and his family took over the organization and administration of the event in 2010 for his father who began the Christmas dinner in 1989.

Bandera says it takes over 3,000 pounds of turkey plus all the fixings like stuffing mashed potatoes, gravy, vegetables and dessert.  Teams of volunteers help make it happen.  Some cook, bake and prepare the food, some set up the venues, others serve the meals and still others do the clean-up after the dinner concludes.

Bandera and other organizers expected over 3,000 meals to be provided.  He and his organizers make it as easy as possible for people to get the free meal.

WNBF News/Roger Neel Photo

People can take out meals, delivery service is offered and this year a new venue in Norwich was established.  That was at the American Legion Post 189, 29 Sheldon Street in Norwich.  As in past years other locations for the dinner included the Boys and Girls Club of Western Broome at 1 Clubhouse Road in Endicott and American Legion Post 80, 76 Main Street in Binghamton.