People from throughout the community gathered on Christmas day to volunteer, eat and spend time with others during a free holiday dinner.
The Community Christmas Caring Dinner was a three-hour event that fed homeless, low income, veterans or anyone looking for a Christmas day celebration. Volunteers from USU Eastern and the Carbon County Food Bank as well as local missionaries and volunteers gathered to make the event possible. Today’s Service Leaders, United Way, the SUN Center and community members from other entities also stepped up to help on Christmas day.
“Over Thanksgiving, we had 16 missionaries show up asking to serve at a soup kitchen,” Brenda Deeter from the Carbon County Food Bank explained. “When they found out there is not a facility specifically for that, they decided an event at Christmas would be a good idea.”
Deeter agreed and began looking into the matter. After contacting Terry Johnson at USU Eastern, plans were made for the Christmas day event. Coordinators of the event quickly pulled together to organize the event for the community.
“We had our first meeting on Dec. 8,” Deeter explained. With not much time to plan, the dinner proved to be a success as approximately 250 people were fed.
The meal was prepared by USU Eastern Dining Services. Gillan Bishop, manager of dining services, headed the efforts in the kitchen. Through monetary donations, USU Eastern dining services purchased food for the meal and prepared it on Christmas Eve and morning.
“It is clear that we have a close community just ready to rally behind an event like this,” Bishop stated. “We really did have enough people volunteering that we could really turn out all the stops.”
Those who attended the event were seated by volunteers who then took their orders and served them meals consisting of turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, rolls, pumpkin pie and much more. In addition to a meal, diners enjoyed a movie and an opportunity to participate in a Christmas tree craft as well as a hot chocolate and coffee bar.
“It was a really nice dinner,” Deeter said. “The volunteers were just unbelievable.”
With the success from the inaugural feast, plans are already in the works to host the same event next Christmas. Deeter explained that she has already received phone calls from people wishing to volunteer and businesses looking to lend a hand.
Those interested in donating to the cause or volunteering at next year’s Christmas dinner should contact Deeter at the food bank at either (435) 637-9232 or (435) 820-8140.
Deeter concluded by saying how thankful she is for each volunteer that made the event possible and expressed her hope that next year’s feast will be even better.