A goodly number of area residents visited the Second Annual Christmas Dinner at Gily’s Bar and Grill in Becker Wednesday afternoon, where they enjoyed a meal, socializing and even a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus.
The program is offered free of charge by the Becker Community Holiday Fund, a non-profit group that formed last year to sponsor the first annual Christmas dinner in Becker.
The day got off to something of a slow start, according to organizer Wendy Borst, part of which is the local reticence towards being the “first in line” at any group event. The tempo picked up quickly, she said, and all of the serving line and other volunteers were very busy very soon.
Becker resident Lu Schuette reprised her role as front door greeter from the first Christmas dinner program, turning out in a colorful holiday sweater and Christmas tree earrings for the event. Many of the other volunteers wore blue or green Santa hats to mark them out as staff members ready to answer questions or assist patrons in any way needed.
The volunteers in the kitchen had their day begin early, Borst said, getting the ham, turkey, mashed potatoes, dressing and other foods ready for serving by 11 a.m., plus the pumpkin pie and other dessert items. A list of volunteers and their assignments was kept by the door, and new personnel were fed into the system on a regular basis throughout the day.
Borst also said the donation of the venue by Gily’s owner Virgil Gilyard was what made the community dinner possible in Becker. She also said the business donated the table coverings and other items and decorations for the dinner program.
Santa and Mr. Claus said they were glad for a chance to sit down and visit with people at the dinner, as they had had quite a busy night. They were assisted by a group of elves and Claire, a “Santa-in-Training” who also wore the red suit at the program.
Organizers were very pleased with the expanded turn-out for the second-annual dinner, Borst said, and plans are already underway for a third-annual Becker Christmas dinner. Area residents and businesses have been generous in their donations leading up to the Christmas season, Borst commented, and she gave a special thanks to John Riebel and Nellie Simpson at Riebel’s Becker True Value hardware store.
Donations are already being accepted for the 2014 program. For more information or to make a donation, contact Wendy Borst at the Becker Community Holiday Fund, (612) 986-8447.