The 29th annual Community Christmas Dinner is coming up, and it’s free to everyone looking for a neighborly meal.
The dinner has become a Christmas tradition and feeds about 500 people every year, said Sharon King, the event’s coordinator.
“It’s an amazing thing that happens every year, and it’s beautiful,” King said. “It’s the happiest day of my entire year.”
It will take place Dec. 25 at the Montezuma County Annex from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. – or until all the food runs out.
The community dinner is open to all. Many attendees are homeless or don’t have a kitchen at home, and some just want to feast with others, King said.
Volunteers also get involved in the dinner, she said.
“I think we’ve all been in situations where Christmas has been hard,” King said. “And then things have turned around. And a lot of those folks are the ones who show up to be of service. Because they know.”
King has been involved with the dinner for five years, she said. She used to be stationed in the kitchen, but now her daughter handles much of that and King’s been able to step into a coordinating position, she said.
As coordinator, she is in charge of fundraising and bringing together all the volunteers and food preparation for the event. Feeding 500 people takes about $2,500, King said – enough for 30 turkeys, potatoes, salad, stuffing, green beans, dessert and more.
Different local organizations sponsor the event each year. This December, organizers are partnering with The Sharehouse, the new community food center at 30 N. Beech St.
“It pretty much fits with our mission of feeding people,” said Laurie Hall, director of The Sharehouse, which is a project of the nonprofit Montezuma Food Coalition. The Sharehouse receives the donations and allocates them through Onward! A Legacy Foundation, the fiscal sponsor of the Montezuma Food Coalition.
The Sharehouse also collects local food for the dinner and will provide roasted potatoes, salad and bread.
“It’s one of those events where everybody’s important, where everybody’s equal,” Hall said.
Donations and volunteers are still being sought for the dinner, King said. To donate, call 565-1151 or visit the Onward! donation website.
To sign up for a volunteer shift, drop by the Cortez Cultural Center, another participating organizer. This year, coordinators plan a pie drive, asking locals to bring a homemade pie to the annex on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning.
Musicians also are needed for the Christmas Day performance.