Volunteers made deliveries during last year’s Holiday Ham Haul, which will happen again on Saturday.

For the third year in a row, a group of volunteers in Buckhead is making sure that every firefighter and police officer working on Christmas Eve in Atlanta can get a delicious meal.

The Holiday Ham Haul got its start in 2020, when the COVID pandemic and widespread social unrest contributed to low morale among police officers and firefighters.

Denise Starling, executive director of the nonprofit Livable Buckhead and a member of Buckhead Rotary, decided that the holiday season would be a good time to show community support for first responders, and the Holiday Ham Haul was born.

“Firefighters and police officers protect the public 365 days a year, which means many of them are working during the holidays while we are all enjoying time with family and friends,” said Starling. “Giving them a nice meal on Christmas Eve is our way to show how much they are appreciated.”

On Christmas Eve about 25 volunteers will gather and assemble a meal that includes Honeybaked ham, turkey, several sides and a Southern Baked pie. Then they will fan out across Atlanta, delivering a Christmas Eve dinner to all 36 Atlanta Fire Rescue Stations and all 7 Atlanta Police Department Zones – a total of 43 dinners.

The dinner is made possible through a partnership between Buckhead Rotary, Livable Buckhead and the Atlanta Fire Rescue Foundation and is sponsored by the Buckhead Community Improvement District, Buckhead Council of Neighborhoods, the Buckhead Coalition, Georgia Primary Bank, Southern Baked Pie and Honeybaked Ham.

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.