Hundreds of family meals served at Henry Beauchamp Community Cen - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Hundreds of family meals served at Henry Beauchamp Community Center

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YAKIMA, WA - Thousands of families are receiving a free dinner and gifts as we speak. The annual Christmas dinner at the Henry Beauchamp Community Center started at 4:30. 

The staff likes to prepare ahead of time because they expect to feed close to 3,000 people. 

This is the 28th year the center puts together this event, and the director, Adrianne Garner, says it all comes together with the help of sponsors and volunteers from the community.

And because they don't turn anyone away, she says that to feed the most amount of people they use a ticketing system. These tickets were given out all morning long. Garner says there was even a line out the door when they opened. Each ticket is good for an entire family, no matter the size. All they ask is that you show up at the time indicated on the ticket.

Garner says that within a matter of hours, 300 tickets were passed out this morning.

"Families that are coming here, many of them were here at six a.m. this morning just waiting for a ticket," she said, "and you don't stand outside for that long if you don't need the support, you just don't do it."

To support those families, Garner says a number of senators and state representatives have shown up year after year to help serve dinner.

This year, Representative Dan Newhouse joins in on the fun for the first time, in the serving line filling up plates.

Along with Newhouse, Wilma - the wife of Henry Beauchamp for whom the center is named - is also in the kitchen, and she told us that she likes to volunteer every year and give back to her hometown.