Medford man gifts hundreds with homecooked meals on Christmas Eve

MEDFORD, Ore.- Santa isn’t the only one delivering joy tonight.

A Medford man’s generous holiday act turned into a huge local effort to make sure families are fed this Christmas.

Bob Bowler and his family cooked meals for 300 families on Thanksgiving from his own kitchen.  When he put out another call to action for Christmas, Medford’s Family Nurturing Center was inspired to help him out.

“It was kind of like his baby that we just decided we wanted to help make bigger and logistically working well,” said Desire Anthony from the center. She said they had to jump on the project to help Bowler reach even more people.

“It turned into something really really huge, with a whole bunch of volunteers and about three times the amount of meals that he put out for Thanksgiving,” Anthony explained.

So the week of Christmas was spent preparing and packing meals for about a thousand people in Southern Oregon. Many of which were deeply impacted by the pandemic and this year’s fires.

Bowler himself spent multiple days smoking and cooking dozens of turkeys and hams.  Kara Palmer, a senior at Cascade Christian high school, picked the event for a senior project after being inspired by Bowler’s kindness.

“Giving all the credit to Bob. He planned this whole thing and its huge and I appreciate him letting me be a part of it,” Palmer said.

The morning of Christmas Eve, dozens of volunteers packed and picked up the meals and delivered them as far as Roseburg.  One of the biggest deliveries went to an apartment complex filled with veterans.

Many deeply appreciated the meal, as they could not get their own Christmas meals.

“I don’t have a car so I have to depend upon friends and so on,” said one veteran.

“It’s kind of hard for me to run up and down 18 steps and I’m not getting any younger, that’s for sure,” explained another.

“It helps a lot of people this time of year, especially with the virus,” added a resident. But they also said they were thankful for another reason.

” I was going to cook, but now I don’t have to cook- it’s great!”

“I don’t have to cook it!”

Grace Smith is co-anchor for NBC5 News at 6. The Chicago native is a recent graduate of University of Miami with a Communication Honors degree specializing in Broadcast Journalism. She minored in Creative Writing and focused her senior thesis on social media usage and engagement. During her time at the University of Miami, she anchored multiple award-winning student television programs, covering everything from music festivals to the Super Bowl. Though she loved Miami's beaches, she's thrilled to be in the Pacific Northwest where she can experience all four seasons and have a real Christmas tree! When she’s not at work, you can find Grace glued to any television showing live sports (especially if it's the Chicago Bears) or attempting a new recipe as she learns to cook.
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