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Volunteers needed for Community Christmas Dinner

A regiment of nearly 100 volunteers has sustained the Community Christmas Dinner, now celebrating its 30th year. Originally started in 1989 by the Bob Kriss family, the holiday feast's moto is "No one should spend Christmas Day hungry or alone." ...

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Star of the North Marine Corps League members assembled 450 bags of candy for the Community Christmas Dinner, which will be held Dec. 25 at the Park Rapids American Legion. Front, from left: Cliff Branham, Janet Gruis, LeRoy Thrun, Fred Whiteside, Ron Masanz; back row: Jerry Pietila, Darrel Gruis, Don Haagenson, Ed Branham and Lou Schultz. (Submitted photo)

A regiment of nearly 100 volunteers has sustained the Community Christmas Dinner, now celebrating its 30th year.

Originally started in 1989 by the Bob Kriss family, the holiday feast's moto is "No one should spend Christmas Day hungry or alone."

The Community Christmas Dinner is open to all. There is no charge for the meal, but freewill offerings are welcome.

A heaping plate of turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, gravy, dressing, corn, sweet potatoes, salad, dinner roll and pie will be dished up from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 25 at the Park Rapids American Legion.

Preparations are underway for the Christmas Day event, which serves over 900 guests, including take-out and deliveries to the homebound.

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Sara Gallus and Lori Cannon are co-organizers of the Community Christmas Dinner, under the guidance of longtime co-chairs Dennis Anderson and Lynn Spilman.

Volunteers are needed to slice, dice, chop and cook beginning at 9 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 23 and Monday, Dec. 24.

On Christmas Day, additional helpers may assist with serving, bussing tables, deliveries and clean up. Shifts are from 10:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. and from 2 p.m. on. An assortment of duties are available for volunteers of all ages. If interested, call Spilman at 320-333-6522.

Financial donations pay for the grocery bill. Checks may be made out to the Community Christmas Dinner Fund and mailed c/o American Legion Post 212, P. O. Box 143, Park Rapids, MN 56470.

Any donations above and beyond the cost of the dinner will be donated to nonprofits in the Park Rapids area.

Home deliveries are made within a 30-mile radius of Park Rapids between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Requests may be made ahead of time, Spilman said, between now and Dec. 25. Call the Legion at 732-5238.

The American Legion donates use of its facility space. Star of the North Marine Corps League members fill gift bags with candy. The "Santa Sacks" are given to dinner attendees. Sons of the American Legion arrange the dining room, setting placemats, silverware, plates, etc.

Shannon Geisen is editor of the Park Rapids Enterprise.
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