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A curbside Christmas dinner serves 700-800

The annual holiday meal at the American Legion was served a bit differently this year, due to COVID-19.

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Brennan Snow volunteered to distribute curbside meals at the Park Rapids American Legion on Christmas Day. (Shannon Geisen/Enterprise)

The 32nd annual Community Christmas Dinner successfully delivered hot, delicious meals, despite procedural changes brought on by COVID-19.

Sara Gallus and Lori Cannon are co-organizers of the Christmas Day feast, served at the Park Rapids American Legion under the guidance of longtime co-chairs Dennis Anderson and Lynn Spilman.

This year, meals were ordered in advance since there was no in-person dining.

Gallus said, “We had a little over 400 for delivery.” Another 300 to 400 requested curbside takeout.

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Lynn Spilman bustles behind the scenes of the annual Christmas dinner. (Shannon Geisen, Enterprise)

An assembly line of workers efficiently dished up orders of turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, gravy, dressing, corn, sweet potatoes, salad, dinner roll and cookies. The Rossman family – Craig, Missy, Lauren and Cole – once again lent a helping hand to produce nearly 1,000 meals.

“We love it,” Missy said. “We miss the people, though, and visiting.”

The Rossmans have participated for four years.

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Becky Maninga is a longtime volunteer for both the community Thanksgiving meal and the Christmas dinner. (Shannon Geisen/Enterprise)

Becky Maninga brought her 22 years of experience – and her daughter and granddaughter – to the annual dinner. “When you help every year, it just really helps to know what you’re doing,” she said. “It’s great. It’s the way we spend our Christmas.”

Wearing festive hats and face masks, Julie, Jesse and Brennan Snow were among the volunteers who helped distribute curbside meals. They have assisted in years past.

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All volunteers expressed gratitude that meals were able to be distributed this year.

The holiday dinner was originally started by the Bob Kriss family, who owned the Great Northern Cafe, and has continued going strong for more than three decades by committed volunteers. Their motto is “No one should spend Christmas Day hungry or alone.”

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Julie Snow places cash that she received from a grateful visitor into the cheery donation box. (Shannon Geisen/Enterprise)

Related Topics: CHRISTMAS
Shannon Geisen is editor of the Park Rapids Enterprise.
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