McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

December 21, 2013

Money, volunteers still needed for Community Christmas Dinner

By James Beaty
Senior Editor

McALESTER — A couple of the volunteers with the Community Christmas Dinner feel a perfect storm of sorts has resulted in far fewer donations for this year’s event than in years past.

For one thing, with Thanksgiving falling so late this year, the amount of time between Thanksgiving and Christmas Day is shorter, one volunteer noted.

Another pointed out that the snow and ice storm that hit McAlester on Dec. 5 basically shut down much of the area for several days due to ice and snow-covered streets and highways during the time the drive for donations had been launched.

By the time the area thawed, many were behind on their Christmas-related activities and were still trying to catch up.

For whatever reasons, the number of donations for this year’s Community Christmas Dinner for McAlester and Krebs residents are lagging behind those of previous years.

Volunteers said it costs approximately $5,500 to put on the dinner, with all of the funding coming through private donations. No government funds are received.

“We’re up to $2,000, so we’re at 40 percent” of what it costs to put on the dinner, a volunteer said Friday.

He’s hoping more donations come in over the weekend and on Monday to help pay for the annual event.

Anyone who would like to help can do so by sending donations to Community Christmas Dinner; P.O. Box 759, McAlester, OK; 74502.

Plans call for the free holiday meal with all the trimmings to be delivered free of charge on Christmas Day to any McAlester or Krebs residents who would like to participate.

All of the meals are delivered, with no sit-down meal served at a central location and with none of the meals available for pick-up or carry-out.

That means a number of volunteer drivers are needed each year to make the deliveries possible, but so far this year the number of volunteers who have called in and offered to help make the home deliveries on Christmas Day is also down.

Those who would like to volunteer can make arrangements to do so by phoning 918 421-2920.

Also, there is still time for those McAlester and Krebs residents who would like to participate in the Community Christmas Dinner to do so.

They can phone the 918 421-2920 numberup until 5 p.m. on Christmas Day to make arrangements to be included, according to organizers of the event.

They were hoping more phone calls will come in from those willing to help make the home deliveries, sooner rather than later, because routes have to be planned in advance.

“They do need to go ahead and call,” the volunteer said.

Contact James Beaty at jbeaty@mcalesternews.com.