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Bags of groceries were made available at a holiday party for local apartment residents at the Pine Ridge Community Center. PHOTO BY SUZANNE POLLAK  

More than 250 residents from several apartment complexes on Piney Branch Road in Silver Spring waited patiently as they stood in line Saturday night to receive a hot dinner and a large bag of groceries to take home.

CASA hosted a holiday party at its Pine Ridge Community Center on Piney Branch Road, which featured music and a bonfire in the parking lot and wall-to-wall people inside waiting to give their names and addresses so that they could receive a bag of food overflowing with potatoes and green vegetables. The food was donated by Priority Partners and area food banks.

There was little room for mingling and even less holiday cheer as attendees snaked around rooms, into hallways and around the bags of food until it was their turn.

It’s been a rough few months for many of them, especially since the explosion and fire at Flower Branch Apartments. Seven of their neighbors lost their lives, and another 100 saw their homes and belongings destroyed.

The winter holidays are often a time of stress and disappointment for low-income families who cannot afford a large Thanksgiving dinner or presents. Bethesda-based charitable organization A Wider Circle will brighten several families’ holidays by delivering baskets of donated food and grocery store gift cards to use for Thanksgiving dinner.