NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - The Liberty Bell hosted their first annual pay-what-you-can Christmas buffet in hopes of making spirits bright this holiday season.
Kati Kennedy, the owner of this downtown restaurant, said she wanted to ensure everyone had a hot meal this Christmas.
"We know there are a lot of people who don't have anywhere to go, or won't have a really nice meal," Kennedy said. "But then there are those that don't want to have to cook on top of all the other preparations they are doing. It is bringing everyone from all walks of life together."
So regardless of your reason for stopping by the brick street restaurant, those that heard about the opportunity to help someone less fortunate made sure the event was a success.
"We had a lot of people that just came in to give money for those that can't, and Joe Cuellar is volunteering his time to provide live entertainment." Kennedy said. "That's on top of the employees who volunteered to be here. It just shows how much good there is in this town."
Joe Cuellar, a local musician, said any opportunity to give back to the communities in East Texas that have supported him is a chance to say 'thank you', and make a difference in someone's life.
"Whenever people come together and do stuff like that, it's very important," Cuellar said. "Anytime I get a chance to volunteer, like here at this event, or in Lufkin, it reminds me what it is all about."
He said that during the holiday season it's easy to forget that some don't have the means to celebrate like others, and this is a chance for the community to provide for those who might go hungry.
"I think it's important for everyone to know there's a place like this for them to come, have a hot meal, and listen to some music. It's about making everyone feel welcome, especially this time of year," Cuellar said.
The buffet meal was open to the community, so those hosting didn't know what to expect or how much food to prepare.
"When I was making the dressing earlier, because I made it myself—don't worry it's good we tested it out first," Kennedy joked. "I didn't know how much to make, because we don't know what the turnout is going to be. Regardless, if we help one person than we have done our job."
With meals cooked by the owner of the restaurant herself, the event was made possible by those volunteering their time to spread holiday cheer.
"I think Nacogdoches is a good town, full of good people, and it's because of people that do stuff like this," Kennedy said.