Second annual ‘Giving Back to Winchester’ to feed 500 people

Published 7:19 am Thursday, December 23, 2021

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This holiday season, Robert Pritchett has a message for Winchester: save any extra money you might have for your family and let him and a group of volunteers provide you Christmas dinner.

Pritchett, along with David and Pat Perdue, Bobby Wolfe and Rodney and Jennifer Whitlock, is sponsoring 500 free dinners that will be given away on Christmas Day.

The giveaway will take place in front of Bargains on Broadway & Cafe from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

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“This is the second year we are doing what we are calling ‘Giving Back to Winchester,” Pritchett said. “Our thing is, spend your extra money on your kids, spend your extra money on your family. Let Broadway cafe provide you dinner this year.”

No proof is required to get a ham, turkey and vegetable dinner, and they are free to all while supplies last. There is a limit of three dinners per person, though.

The idea to do a holiday meal giveaway came to Pritchett last year, two days before Thanksgiving.

“I woke up, and I looked at my wife and said, ‘You know, I want to do a free Thanksgiving dinner.’ She said, ‘Rob, we can’t do it in two days, impossible, but we’ll do Christmas dinner,’” he said.

Pritchett said he called Wolfe, the local Little Debbie distributor, and asked if he wanted to help. Wolfe said he did, and the ball got rolling. Once word got out, people would walk in off the street into the store and hand Pritchett money to help with the cost.

A year later, people came up to Pritchett and said they would not have had a holiday meal if it wasn’t for the giveaway. Some were inspired to pay the kindness forward.

“The other day, a lady walked into my office and asked to speak to me. I said, ‘Sure.’ She said, ‘Can I donate to your Christmas dinners?’ … She handed me a $100 check, and she said, ‘Sir, I’m one of the ones you fed last year,’” Pritchett said.

There are more than enough volunteers in a true holiday blessing to help give the food away.

Ultimately, this is a chance for Pritchett to give back to the hometown that has supported his business for the last six years.

“We do this because it is good for the city of Winchester. I don’t even care if my name is in it. What matters to me is let’s feed 500 people,” he said.