The tradition of the Bandera Family Christmas dinners is continuing this year in Broome and Chenango counties.

Every year, thousands of people receive free meals on Christmas Day in Binghamton, Endicott and other locations.

Organizer Bill Bandera said his parents started what became a tradition in 1989. He said Bill and Carolyn Bandera wanted to do something to give back to the community.

Speaking on WNBF Radio's Binghamton Now program on Monday, Bandera said they decided to offer a free Christmas dinner for area residents. Several dozen meals were served that year at American Legion Post 80 on Main Street in Binghamton.

Bandera said his mother told his father "we're doing this next year!" And the mission has continued for more than three decades.

Bandera took charge of the event after his father's death in 2010.

This year in Broome County, the free dinners will once again be available at the American Legion on Binghamton's West Side and at the St. Ambrose school building on Garfield Avenue in Endicott. People can arrange for meal delivery by calling 211, the help line operated by United Way of Broome County.

There's more information about the free Christmas dinner initiative and the Bandera Family & Community Alliance online. Click HERE to go to the organization's website.

LISTEN: Bill Bandera discuss how the tradition began and the preparations for this year in a WNBF Radio interview on December 18, 2023.

Bill Bandera in downtown Binghamton on December 5, 2013. (Photo: Bob Joseph/WNBF News)
Bill Bandera in downtown Binghamton on December 5, 2013. (Photo: Bob Joseph/WNBF News)
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Contact WNBF News reporter Bob Joseph: bob@wnbf.com. For breaking news and updates on developing stories, follow @BinghamtonNow on Twitter.

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