The main building at the Del Norte County Fairgrounds was full and bustling Friday night for an annual dinner put on by Our Daily Bread Ministries in Crescent City.
Director Mike Justice said the crowd arrived a little later than usual, but eventually filled the house.
“I was stressing a little bit, saying “where’s everybody?” he said, laughing. “We had 379 signed up and I think we’re somewhere in that area. Everyone who signed up is here and we let more people in so, right about 400, I’d say.”
Asked how many people were helping, he estimated 45 to 50 people from various organizations.
“That’s all the food, beverage, and food servers total,” he said, noting that youth from Foursquare youth, and the high school’s Not Ashamed group were serving food.
Two rooms full of gifts for kids and adults allowed parents and children to pick out gifts for each other. Justice noted that when the annual event started about a decade ago, volunteers collected and cleaned up used gifts for distribution. A recent motorcycle toy run and other efforts brought in toys this year.
“I remember we were washing gifts to get the scuff marks off and make them as nice as possible,” he said. “This year, between the bike run and everything else, everything came in brand new.”
He said organization continues to improve every year, making the event better and better.
Live music was provided by Reach Out Ministries. A puppet show took the main stage to the delight of a large half-circle of kids. Coordinator Daphne Cortes-Dean wanted to acknowledge Walgreens for their assistance with the event.