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Largest crowd ever enjoys Christmas Dinner PDF Print E-mail
Written by Wauneta Breeze   
Thursday, 31 December 2015 00:00

By Carolyn Lee

The Imperial Republican

A total of 411 plates of food were eaten by those gathered at the ninth annual Southwest Nebraska Ministerial Association’s Christmas Dinner at the Imperial Eagles Club this year.

That compares to 335 in 2013 and 275-300 in 2012.

Coordinator Kate Davis said she has no idea why the attendance increased. “Maybe since Christmas was on a Friday people had family coming home for a three-day weekend,” she speculated. Davis said there were a number of three-generation families in attendance.

Davis also feels that “the word is getting out” about the excellence of the dinner.

In the past leftover food has been donated to the Imperial Community Center and to shut-ins.

This year, there wasn’t much left over. Davis said that of the eight turkeys and three whole hams, along with the corn, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, rolls, gravy and pie, “We had one very small box of leftovers. We really cut it close,” she laughed.

Just four dozen dinner rolls, a bag of turkey and a bag of ham, plus 30 pieces of pie, were donated to the Community Center and to a family in need.

Forty volunteers served the food, provided kitchen help and “kept an eye on the pie table,” Davis said, as well as cleaned up after the meal.

“Without the generous donations and the generous volunteer time, this dinner wouldn’t happen,” Davis declared.

“The Ministerial Association facilitates it but without the community support this wouldn’t happen.”

Davis noted that all of the food was donated, leaving her to spend about $200 on condiments, dessert plates, chicken broth and sugar. “Our budget is zero,” she noted.

That $200 was also donated for the meal.

Also donated were apples, oranges and unpopped popcorn for gift bags. AK Acres and the local banks donated to that project.

Davis said “This dinner has taken on a personality of its own.” The volunteers have all worked eight or nine years and know what to do, she said. “It’s so smooth.”

Jody Bopp, who coordinated the meal for eight years, had everything so well organized, Davis said, that “I was just the facilitator. I didn’t do much.”

Free will donations were taken during the meal, which ran from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday.

Todd Burpo of the Ministerial Association said $2,002 was given in donations.

Those donations are used by the Ministerial Association for the indigent program. Persons passing through Imperial who need financial assistance may apply at the Chase County Courthouse.