No one should have to spend Christmas hungry or alone. That’s the idea behind the annual Christmas Dinner held every year on Christmas day inside the Bristlecone Convention Center. Ed Spear, the man that has helped put on the dinner for the last 15 years, said that the dinner gives people a place to go on the holiday, so they can enjoy it with their family.
“I don’t think in my time doing this dinner that I’ve seen one person go home unhappy. They all feel like they had a real Christmas celebration, and that is why we do it,” Spear said.
Coming from a poor family himself, Spear said that he sympathizes with families or parents that are trying to do the best they can for their children during the holidays. He said his parents would work as hard as they could to make sure that gifts were under the tree for him and his siblings, no matter their financial situation. Now that he is able to, Spear said he wants to be able to extend that same kind of help to young parents struggling with those sam issues by providing the food and decor.
“I want this place to look and feel like Christmas,” he said.
This year’s Christmas dinner will begin at 11 a.m. on Christmas day and last until 2 p.m. Spear said that around 50 volunteers have offered to come in before hand on the holiday and help prepare the traditional Christmas feast, including ham, turkey, pumpkin pie and more.
“I just think it is amazing that so many people in our little community would donate their time on Christmas to help others,” Spear said.
But over the years, Spear has found that the dinner serves another purpose besides providing food.
“Christmas can be more than financially hard for some, it can be lonely as well. The thing that I never expected was that some people would come just for the company. We get people every year that get here early, find a spot and don’t even eat, they just enjoy having people to talk to on Christmas,” he said.
The Bristlecone’s Christmas dinner is free and open to the public. For more information, call the convention center at 1-800-496-9350.