SIDNEY — Planning is underway for the 34th annual Community Christmas Dinner. It will be held Saturday, Dec. 12, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Shelby County Emergency Management Agency.
“The first Community Christmas Dinner meals were served over 30 years ago,” said Rodney Kerns, of the Community Christmas Dinner Committee. “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.”
The Shelby County Fairgrounds has been the home of the Community Christmas Dinner for many years. Because the event has grown to serve more and more meals, it was moved to the Emergency Management Agency building at the fairgrounds in 2010.”Many thanks go out to the Shelby County Emergency Management Agency,” Kerns said.
Nearly 2,000 meals were served 2014; with almost 400 being delivered to the residents of Shelby County who are homebound. Each year, volunteers deliver meals to every city, village and rural community in the county.
The Community Christmas Dinner Committee hopes to bring together residents from all over the county to share in a wonderful meal on Saturday, Dec. 12, Kerns said. Meals will be delivered to shut-ins who call in their reservation to Fair Haven’s Adult Day Services. Requests for meals to be delivered to shut-ins can be made by calling 492-8074, ext. 6. Reservations for home-delivered meals must be made no later than 4 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 9. The person who is to receive the meal or their caregiver should be the one calling to make the request.
Michael Jannides and The Spot restaurant make sure the dinner has the best of everything, which turns this meal into a project of love, Kerns said. There are volunteers from Temperance Lodge 73 Free and Accepted Masons, 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 150 pounds of potatoes is a good estimate,” Kerns said. “If that isn’t enough; there are green beans and cranberries. Let us not forget dessert; pies, and 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 bags of candy.
“The dinner could not be such a success every year without the support received from the fine people in our community,” Kerns said. “The committee would like to say a word of thanks to our supporters. The list of supporters has grown and grown over the years.”
Funding needed to cover expenses can be difficult to obtain, Kerns said. Some years it is more difficult than other years to get enough funding to cover the event’s costs. The Shelby County United Way underwrites the event. “The Community Christmas Dinner Committee would like to thank the Shelby County United Way for its unwavering support,” he said.
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.
Kerns said volunteers are needed to help set up on Friday, Dec. 11, and tear-down on Saturday, Dec. 12, after the event, as well as drivers, and volunteers of all types on the day of the event. People interested in volunteering to help should call Kerns at 492-1746.
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.