[dfads params='groups=4969&limit=1&orderby=random']

Community Cares makes sure no one has Christmas alone


Volunteers at the serving line load a full-course Christmas dinner for all who attend.

Contributing Reporter

    Anyone who needs good food or joyful company on Christmas Day is welcome at the Community Cares Christmas dinner. From 2 to 4 p.m., volunteers will serve a complete meal with all the trimmings at the Jennifer Leavitt Student Center. As a result of generous donations and volunteers who spend their holiday working make sure that everyone feels the festive spirit this meal is free. As well, little elves (volunteers) will pick up anyone who needs a ride or deliver dinner to the homebound.  
This event is “designed for the homeless, elderly and needy, but it is open to everyone,” explained Pam Cha, a volunteer. “We want to make sure that no one spends Christmas Day alone.”
     As they walk into dinner, people will be greeted and shown to a table. Volunteers will serve them a complete Christmas meal with turkey, ham, beans, stuffing, rolls and pie as live music wafts through the air. Children get to make an edible craft at a kid’s activity table. Last year, 250 people attended the meal.
    Four years ago, Brenda Deeter was working at the food bank when Mike Kourianos walked in the day before Thanksgiving. He was looking for a place for the local Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints missionaries to serve on Christmas Day. When he asked Deeter for ideas, she didn’t have any, because there weren’t any events in our area to provide Christmas dinner. She knew there was a need, but the food bank couldn’t fill it. Someone other organization would have to. Kourianos said that they would be back on Christmas Day, ready to serve.
    Deeter talked to a few people about it, and soon the word spread. Terry Johnson, the SUN Center director at USU Eastern, called her and they set up a meeting. A small group met on December 8 and planned the first Community Cares dinner.
“It was just so much fun doing it the first year, we decided that we wanted to continue doing it. It’s cool and awesome to see the people who come enjoy visiting, have good food and entertainment,” she said.   
Over the past few years, people have volunteered to help and the dinner has grown. Deeter is quick to point to businesses and families who make the event happen. “The college has been wonderful to work with, and many businesses really help us out,” she said. She doesn’t have to search for performers or servers, because they come to her, asking to help.
    Three years ago, Stephanie Cha, who is a first grade teacher, invited the students in her class to the dinner. One family volunteered and brought all of their children to help with the meal. She was inspired to see these parents teaching their children to serve, even the toddlers. “They were so involved with the event and I was touched to seem making such a difference at a young age. It gives me hope for the future,” she said.
    The rewards for participants and volunteers are priceless. Pam Cha, an event volunteer, and Stephanie’s mother explained her motivation, “I have seen people who spend Christmas alone and it’s just not right. I’d rather be doing something on Christmas to help people rather than just do things for me.”
“It’s just not about presents and big family dinners. We tend to get lost in the stress of the holidays. This is a nice way to remind us what Christmas is about,” Pam Cha continued.
It is not necessary to RSVP to attend the dinner. To get a ride or schedule a meal delivery, call Stephanie Cha at 435-820-6631. To volunteer or donate contact Brenda Deeter by calling 820-8140.

[dfads params='groups=1745&limit=1&orderby=random']
scroll to top