An Italian immigrant who settled in Virginia, Giannini’s Southern hospitality was not only routinely displayed, but it was also passed down to her grandson, Mitchell Toms. A Cortez real estate developer, Toms became emotional when reflecting recently on his grandmother’s kindness, stating that she was the reason he continues to volunteer and organize a community Christmas dinner.
“I never imagined that I’d get so caught up with the dinner,” said Toms. “My grandkids ask me every year what we’re doing for Christmas, and my response, ‘This is what I do.’”
The 27th annual Community Christmas Dinner is held on Christmas Day, Friday, Dec. 25. It’s free and open to the public. Meals are served from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Montezuma County Annex building.
“The whole community, rich or poor, is welcome,” Toms said.
In the past, more than 500 area residents have attended the dinner, which includes 30 turkeys, dressing, vegetables, cranberry sauce, rolls, pie and coffee. At a cost of about $2,000, the dinner is completely funded via donations.
“In all the places I’ve lived, I’ve never seen such outpouring from a rural community like Cortez,” Toms said.
For those unable to attend the dinner, volunteers also deliver meals upon request. And the leftovers? Those are donated to the Bridge Emergency Shelter.
Monetary donations may be dropped off at Vectra Bank or Four Corners Community Bank.
For additional information, to volunteer or to donate, call (970) 565-1151.