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Volunteers sought for Community Christmas Dinner

No one should spend Christmas Day hungry or alone. So goes the theme--and motivation--behind the 28th annual Community Christmas Dinner. Preparations are underway for the Dec. 25 event, which last year served 750 guests at the Park Rapids America...

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No one should spend Christmas Day hungry or alone.

So goes the theme-and motivation-behind the 28th annual Community Christmas Dinner.

Preparations are underway for the Dec. 25 event, which last year served 750 guests at the Park Rapids American Legion and delivered 250 hot meals to the homebound.

Co-organizers Lynn Spilman and Dennis Anderson need both volunteers and monetary contributions to make this year's feast a success.

Volunteers are needed to slice, dice, chop and cook from about 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday, Dec. 23 and Saturday, Dec. 24.

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"I'm a real good general back there," said a smiling Spilman, gesturing toward the Legion's kitchen.

Additional helpers may assist with serving, bussing tables, deliveries and clean up on Christmas Day. An assortment of duties are available for volunteers of all ages. If interested, call Spilman at 320-333-6522 or 732-8250.

"We encourage adults to have their teenagers and young children help," she said, many families or local organizations opting to perform community service together. Volunteers from as far away as Pine River have ventured to Park Rapids to lend a hand, Spilman recalled.

"We have lots of duties that children can do, like serving pie," agreed Sara Gallus, an organizer-in-training.

Spilman and Anderson are cultivating Anderson's daughters, Gallus and Lori Cannon, to take over the Community Christmas Dinner in 2018. They will mentor the sisters throughout a transition period.

"Their parents have taught them well about volunteerism. It's awesome," Spilman said.

Gallus permanently moved to Nevis over the summer. She brings 25 years of social work and marketing experience, having worked for various nonprofits in the Twin Cities.

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

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The American Legion donates use of its facility space. Sons of the American Legion arrange the dining room, setting placemats, silverware, plates, etc.

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 Dec. 25.

Home deliveries are made 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.

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