crossroads Christmas returns for 12th year
A Crossroads Christmas Returns for 12th Year
By Mark Boehler

It was a dozen years ago when Marea Wilson went to her husband with an idea for a new way to celebrate Christmas.

The wife told Tommy Wilson, “Let’s host a Christmas Day dinner for the entire community.”

The husband said he was fine with the idea, but he warned Marea, “Don’t be surprised if nobody shows up.”

As most married couples soon learn, the wife is usually right.

“The community showed up big time,” said Tommy, who had humble pie for dessert that year. “It was amazing. I had no idea.”

Just over 300 people showed up that first year of the Christmas Day luncheon at the Living Free Ministries building behind Magnolia Funeral Home on U.S. 72.

“We were just overflowing with joy,” said Marea, who had just lost her mother the previous year. “All races and all walks of life were there.”

She named the event Crossroads Christmas.

“It’s a mix of people who are hungry and people needing a place to go,” she said. “I didn’t want anyone to be alone on Christmas Day.”

Crossroads Christmas continues to grow with as many as 1,200 meals served. Last year just over 1,000 meals were given away. The Covid Grinch couldn’t even steal the event as volunteers converted to meal delivery during those home confinement years.

For the past eight years, the luncheon has included meal delivery to inmates at the Alcorn County Jail and prisoners in the Regional Correctional facility.

Marea’s memorial to her late mother and successful idea to fulfill a community need of food and fellowship continues this year from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 25 in the Alcorn Central High School cafeteria.

The Wilsons, Alcorn County Sheriff Ben Caldwell, Alcorn Central High School Principal Jeremy Reese and Freedom Center Director Wesley Jackson all gathered last week to continue planning the 12th Annual Crossroads Christmas.

There are plenty of needs, including monetary donations, food donations, volunteers to help serve and deliver meals and assist with cleaning up after the luncheon is over.

There is also a plea from Marea for people to make homemade desserts for the event.

“We really need homemade desserts,” said the event founder. “We love the desserts to be homemade. It makes it more special.”

“We do need help,” added Tommy, founder of Living Free Ministries. “This is an opportunity to serve others on Christmas Day.”

About 45 meals will be delivered to the county jail and state regional prison.

“We are thankful for you guys,” Caldwell told the Wilsons. “The meal means a lot. It touches hearts.”

The holiday meal consists of Ben Betts’ famous dressing, turkey, ham, green beans, peas, slaw, sweet potato casserole, roll and a dessert.

Desserts can be delivered to the ACHS cafeteria Christmas Day morning or they can be taken this week to the Corinth Furniture and Mattress Outlet on U.S. 72.

Monetary donations can be mailed to Living Free Ministries, P.O. Box 224, Corinth, 38834.

Bethlehem Baptist Church members will cook 25 turkeys for the luncheon, but about 45 are needed.

“We do need turkeys and hams,” said Tommy.

The Wilsons are excited about the return of the event.

“It’s the best day of the year,” said Tommy. “Just to be a part of it.”

Marea likes to stress to everyone who lives in the Crossroads area – the luncheon is for everyone.

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year,” she said.

For questions or signup for volunteer duties, contact Tommy Wilson at 662-603-9829 or Marea Wilson at 662-643-7298.