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In 2011, 600 people were served at the anual Christmas Dinner, held at the Park Rapids American Legion, including 150 take-out meals. (Sarah Smith / Enterprise)

Christmas Dinner looking for volunteers; a new generation to lead event

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entertainment Park Rapids,Minnesota 56470 http://www.parkrapidsenterprise.com/sites/default/files/styles/square_300/public/fieldimages/22/0304/webserving-line-5_0.jpg?itok=ZTqbmlM3
Park Rapids Enterprise
(218) 732-8757 customer support
Christmas Dinner looking for volunteers; a new generation to lead event
Park Rapids Minnesota PO Box 111 56470

Park Rapids' 24th annual Community Christmas Dinner is in need of volunteers and new chairpersons for future dinners.

Longtime co-chairs Lynn Spilman and Dennis Anderson are willing to turn over the reins to the next generation. They're even willing to let prospective applicants intern a few years before they let go of those reins.

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"Dennis and I are looking for the next generation of co-chairpersons for the Community Christmas Dinner," Spilman said in an e-mail to the Enterprise.  "We are getting to an age that we would like to have someone to take over for us.  We are willing to work with these people for several years to steer them on a good path."

The event was begun by the Bob Kriss family, who owned the Great Northern Café.

Last year 600 diners were served, including 150 take-out meals.

The dinner, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Christmas Day at the Park Rapids American Legion, is free. A donation box is set up to defray expenses and raise funds for the Park Rapids Salvation Army.

To date the event has raised $57,900 for that organization. The Legion always donates its facilities free of charge.

Like the community's Thank Meal at Thanksgiving, the Christmas Dinner relies on dozens of volunteers.

Those volunteers are needed Dec. 23 and 24 beginning at 10 a.m. and on Christmas Day from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Shut-ins may start calling the Legion to order their meals, and can even call Christmas Day at 732-5238.

Volunteers can also call the Legion to volunteer, but it's best to go directly there and put your name on the signup sheet, so duties can be immediately delegated.

"Dennis and I want to stress the fact that the dinner is free including the home deliveries and take outs.  We know the need is great and we are prepared to serve several hundred meals," Spilman said.

"We want to thank the community and the many generous donations which helps with our start up costs."

You may mail tax-deductible donations to: Community Christmas Dinner Fund, % American Legion Post 212, P.O. Box 13, Park Rapids, 56470.

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Sarah Smith
Sarah Smith is the outdoors editor. She covers courts, business and breaking news in addition to outdoors events.
(218) 732-3364
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