Plans finalized for 35th annual Christmas dinner


SIDNEY — The Community Christmas Dinner Committee is hoping to bring together residents from all over Shelby County to share in a holiday meal on Saturday, Dec. 10.

The annual dinner will be held at the Shelby County Fairgrounds with serving time from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Meals will be delivered to shut-ins who call in a reservation to DayBreak Adult Day Services at Fair Haven. Requests for meals to be delivered to shut-ins can be made by calling 937-492-8074 ext. 6. Reservations for home delivered meals must be made no later than 4 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 7. Organizers are asking the person who is to receive the meal or their caregiver be the one calling to make the request.

The first Community Christmas Dinner meals were served more than 30 years ago. Each year the event is a success due to many dedicated volunteers.

“You might be wondering how many volunteers come out to help with the event, share love, and spread good cheer. The answer is larger than you might think. Each year, over 200 dedicated volunteers give of their time to make the event a success,” said Rodney Kerns, event coordinator.

The Shelby County Fairgrounds has been the home of the Community Christmas Dinner for many years. Because the event has grown and served more and more meals through the years, the committee was permitted to use the Civil Defense Building at the Shelby County Fairgrounds beginning in 2010.

“Many thanks go out to Cheri Drinkwine at th Shelby County Emergency Management Agency who hosts the facility and stores supplies needed each year,” said Kerns.

In 2015, there were close to 2,000 meals served; with almost 400 of those meals being delivered to the residents of Shelby County who are homebound. Each year, volunteers deliver meals to every city, town, village, and rural community in Shelby County.

Michael Jannides and The Spot makes sure the dinner has the best of everything, which turns the meal into a project of love. There are volunteers from Temperance Lodge 73 Free and Accepted Masons and the Masonic Lodge of Sidney, who make the mashed potatoes in the kitchen in the Civil Defense Building. Lots and lots of potatoes are made and served as part of the Christmas dinner menu. Approximately 225 pounds of potatoes are prepared annually.

There will be 500 pounds of cooked turkey served; 240 pounds of dressing and 20 gallons of gravy. There will also be 150 dozen dinner rolls served at the event.

And if that isn’t enough, there are green beans (240 pounds) and cranberries (48 pounds). Also, don’t forget dessert — 53 pies and 50 dozen cookies. To wash it all down, there are pints of milk, regular coffee, decaffeinated coffee and small bottles of water.

As Anna Local Schools’ Jazz Band plays Christmas music, Santa will be in attendance to listen to the wish lists from the children and hand out the bags of candy. The dinner could not be such a success every year without the support received from the residents of Shelby County.

“The committee would like to say a word of thanks to our supporters. The list of supporters has grown and grown over the years,” said Kerns.

All patrons should enter the main gate of the fairgrounds located on Highland Avenue. Patrons can then park anywhere within the fairgrounds, keeping in mind that the meal is inside the Shelby County Emergency Management Agency building, also, known as the Civil Defense building.

“We need volunteers to help set-up on Friday, Dec. 9, and tear-down on Saturday, Dec. 10, after the event, as well as drivers, and volunteers of all types on the day of the event,” said Kerns.

People interested in volunteering to help with this event should call Kerns at 937-492-1746 to register.

Volunteers are asked to park in the OSU Extension Office parking lot located next to the Civil Defense Building. Parking at the OSU Extension Office will be restricted to volunteers only as the entrance to get a meal is located inside of the fair grounds.

The Christmas Dinner Committee would like to thank the many generous donors who support the Community Christmas Dinner each year. In addition, the Christmas Dinner Committee would like to thank the Shelby County United Way for graciously underwriting the event. The Community Christmas Dinner Committee would also like to thank the dedicated volunteers for their unwavering support.

Staff report

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