I was talking to a friend last weekend about the years that I lived away from everyone I knew and how hard the holidays were for me.  Nobody should be alone on Christmas. Nobody should have to go without because finances restrain them. After all, the holidays are supposed to be about cheer and togetherness, aren't they?

There are a few places around the Southern Tier that understand that sometimes life happens and the holidays aren't what they should be, so they're stepping up to the plate to make sure that families in need and those who might not have family close by feel enveloped in love.

For the second year, the River Club of Afton will be offering a free Christmas buffet from 12pm-2:30pm on Christmas day. If you're not able to make it to the River Club and live within 10 miles of Afton, please call 606-639-3060 and they'll arrange for a meal delivery. Santa and Mrs. Clause and a couple of their elves will be on hand at the River Club with gifts for kids from toddler to 16-years-old.

Since 1989, the Bandera family has been serving meals to our community on Christmas day. What started as 69 meals has surpassed 4,000. This year, the Bandera family is expanding their free dinner to Endicott- so, there will be two locations where our community can enjoy a Christmas meal on Christmas day. The first location is: the American Legion Post 80 at 76 Main Street in Binghamton. The second location is: the Boys and Girls Club in Endicott will be the site of a second dinner on Christmas Day.

The 13th annual free Community Christmas dinner at the Montrose Senior Center will be served on Christmas day at the Montrose Square Community Room starting at 12pm. Everyone is invited no reservations are necessary.

There will be a free community Christmas dinner Christmas day from 11am-2pm at Owego United Methodist Church, 261 Main Street in Owego. In addition to turkey with fixings, you'll enjoy music, crafts and movies for the kids.

The Elmira Community Kitchen will serve Christmas dinner from 2pm-3pm on Christmas day at the Saints Peter and Paul Church community center at 160 High Street. Enjoy Christmas music before your meal from 1:30pm-2pm. Santa will welcome kids to dinner.

If you know of a FREE community Christmas dinner not on this list, please email me so that I can add it.