Pub Helps Needy Families at Christmas
For seven nights in November and December, guest bartenders at O’Donnell’s filled shot glasses, mugs and wine glasses so needy families could have a merry Christmas.
Each year, for the the last decade, O’Donnell’s Pub in Southern Pines has helped make Christmas happier through the pub’s guest bartender program and the Empty Stocking Fund.
“It’s been a very generous year with all our regulars and our group contributing,” pub owner Patrick O’Donnell said.
This year the seven guest bartender nights generated a little more than $10,000, he said. That money provides basic necessities and toys for 10 families consisting of 11 adults and 37 kids.
On Dec. 16, a group of 30 individuals spent four hours at the pub wrapping each gift for needy families.
“It (wrapping party) is the only time I let my mom pick the music at the pub,” O’Donnell said with a smile.
Of course, she selected all Christmas tunes.
The next afternoon, O’Donnell and about a dozen elves — both adult and children — piled into a bus with wrapped presents and rolled over the hills and through the woods to homes in Southern Pines, Pinehurst, Carthage and Aberdeen to deliver Christmas cheer.
“It was really an awesome year,” O’Donnell said.
Participants will tell you they get as much out of delivering the items as the families who receive them.
“Definitely,” O’Donnell said. “It’s just an awesome experience.”
O’Donnell has been involved in the program since he opened the pub more than a decade ago. Participation has grown each year, and the success of the guest bartender nights has allowed an increasing number of needy families to have a Merry Christmas.
O’Donnell said one of the keys to the success of the guest bartenders is bringing in different groups throughout the community to maximize donations. This year, representatives from The Pilot kicked off the fundraiser.
To be eligible for the Empty Stocking Fund, families must be from Moore County, and they must have children.
This year was the most successful in terms of the amount of money raised and the number of families served. Last year, the pub raised enough money to help seven families, which included eight adults and 27 children.
O’Donnell hopes the guest bartender series will continue to grow so that his pub can continue to serve up some holiday cheer to Moore County families in need.
“It’s nice to be able to help others, and we look forward to it every year,” he said.
Contact Tom Embrey at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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