NOLANVILLE — Luminaria candles decorated the sidewalk outside the Nolanville Food Pantry on last Friday evening as people, many wearing red Santa hats, gathered for fellowship, free hot chocolate and songs around an 8-foot-tall lighted Christmas tree in the parking lot.
More than 30 people participated in “Rock the Food Pantry,” a Christmas caroling-themed canned food drive benefiting the Nolanville Food Pantry.
Harker Heights High School senior Matthew Crandall-Brackmann, 17, came up with the idea as a way to give back.
‘Good for others’
“It’s the perfect way to do good for others,” Brackmann said. “Everyone has (their) favorite Christmas songs, so bringing the community together to sing carols seemed like a good idea.”
His parents, Nada and Dave Brackmann, owners of Do Good Designs in Nolanville, couldn’t agree more or be prouder of their son.
“When we opened our business beside the food pantry, we took it as a sign. Matthew took the idea farther than we ever expected,” Nada Brackmann said.
The event attracted young and old, with ages ranging from 3 to 70. Each caroler received a handbook containing 18 Christmas songs, and the evening started with a spirited rendition of “Jingle Bells.”
After a few songs, carolers paused for hot chocolate and chats.
About 100 people
The Nolanville Food Pantry serves about 100 people each month. Individuals are allowed to visit the pantry twice a month.
The building is small and can only stock so much food at once, making it necessary to replenish food items often.
Mary Faye McDonald, director of the Nolanville Food Pantry, sees an increasing need for food drive events, such as the night of caroling.
“We’re fortunate to have so much community support,” McDonald said. “The need just keeps growing, so we can use all the help we can get.”
Several tables overflowed with canned and nonperishable goods as people brought their donations to the pantry.
The Christmas tree, stand and lights also were donated by Home Depot in Killeen.
Don Johnson, pastor of First United Methodist Church, called the event a great night for the community.
“It reminds me of what Christmas is all about, people helping each other,” Johnson said.