It's a harsh reality that's easy to forget in the excitement of the holidays: many people in our community face the possibility of spending Christmas alone or hungry.

That's why for the eighth year, Bender's Tavern in Greensboro is stepping up to help. Staff and volunteers will spread holiday cheer by serving free Christmas meals and giving out small gifts to anyone in need.

Owner Anna Freiberg has rounded up troops of volunteers and thousands of pounds of turkey, beans, potatoes, gravy, cranberry and rolls -- enough to feed 2,000 people.

Anyone, no questions asked, can show up at the restaurant on Christmas day for delicious fare and family comradery. And, anyone who is home-bound can request a delivery at 336-698-6882.

Freiberg already has enough volunteers to prepare and serve the meals, but she is still collecting donations -- toys or new/gently-used clothing -- which will be distributed at the meal. Drop off donations to the restaurant by Christmas Eve. The restaurant is located at 4517-A W. Market St.

The Christmas meal is from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Christmas day.