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Community dinner serves Christmas ham

Tammy Malgesini

East Oregonian

Published on December 19, 2017 5:24PM

Volunteers bow their heads in prayer before serving at the free meal on Thanksgiving in Hermiston. The second of the twice-yearly free Community Fellowship Dinners is Christmas Day in the main commons at Hermiston High School.

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Volunteers bow their heads in prayer before serving at the free meal on Thanksgiving in Hermiston. The second of the twice-yearly free Community Fellowship Dinners is Christmas Day in the main commons at Hermiston High School.

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The second of the twice-yearly Community Fellowship Dinners in Hermiston will offer a free holiday meal on Christmas Day.

The traditional meal features Hill’s Meat ham with all the trimmings. Also, there is a limited supply of turkey. The dinner includes a vegetable and dessert.

Anyone who wants to eat is invited to attend Monday, Dec. 25 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Hermiston High School’s main commons, 600 S. First St. Also, meal delivery service, take-out orders and transportation to the meal site is available.

People are treated as guests at the event. As soon as someone enters the door, they are greeted, seated and served, said Gary Humphreys, CFD board chair.

The community meal started in the mid-1980s as a way to provide a nice holiday dinner to people who might otherwise spend it alone. The meal’s humble beginnings included about 30 people in the home of Joe and Janet Kiser.

Since then, it has grown and changed venues a couple of times before finding a longtime home at the Hermiston Senior Center. However, due to the building’s demolition, the CFD board, which was organized in 1993, approached the Hermiston School District to inquire about use of its facilities. The meal was held in the school’s commons for the first time during last month’s Thanksgiving dinner — serving about 700 meals.

Humphreys said the high school’s facilities offer opportunities for further growth of the event. Equipment, parking and seating is far superior to what’s was available elsewhere in town.

However, Humphreys said volunteers are the key to the event’s success.

“I’ve been helping long enough to see moms and dads bring their kids there,” he said. “And then I see the kids coming back as adults.”

Even with many longtime and returning volunteers, there’s always room for others to get involved, Humphreys said.

Volunteers are needed for food preparation and set-up Saturday, Dec. 23. Organizers will be on hand from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., but those interested in assisting are welcome to help for a couple of hours or all day.

All ages are invited to volunteer, although there is an age limit for those working directly in the kitchen. Assistance is needed for everything from greeters, servers or deliveries to meal prep, the hot line or clean-up. While walk-ins are welcome, it’s helpful if volunteers sign up in advance for planning purposes.

For more information, to volunteer, for meal delivery or to arrange transportation, contact 541-371-9772 or cfdhermiston@gmail.com. Those interested in volunteering should provide their contact information, what you’d like to do and when you can help. Financial donations can be sent to Community Fellowship Dinner in Hermiston, P.O. Box 1551, Hermiston, OR 97838.

In addition, information about the meal is available by searching Facebook for “Community Fellowship Dinner.”

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Contact Community Editor Tammy Malgesini at tmalgesini@eastoregonian.com or 541-564-4539



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