Tony Reed
Del Norte Triplicate

Our Daily Bread Ministry’s annual Community Christmas Dinner continues to break its own records, getting bigger and grander every year.

This year’s estimate of 480 people served topped the previous year by about 80 people.

Daily Bread Director Mike Justice said his staff expected more, and set up the main building in the fairgrounds to seat 600 people.

“This was the biggest turnout we had,” Justice said in regard to volunteers. “We had three youth groups from local churches, and we had Grace Lutheran and a bunch of others who heard the call and wanted to come in and serve and help.”

Every family was able to take home gifts, not for themselves, but for their family member. Gifts were divided into two categories: kids and adults and were placed in separate, curtained rooms at each end of the building. Kids were allowed to pick gifts for their parents, which were wrapped on the spot, and vice-versa.

“We had enough for people to get two gifts each,” Justice said. “It’s the best year we’ve had.”

Gifts have been accumulating for some time, through donations, the ministry’s yearly toy run and donation boxes around town. While in the past, many used gifts were cleaned up and regifted to families, this years’ gifts were all new, according to Justice.

Coordinator Daphne Cortese-Dean conducted the gift-giving, calling names and families up to pick out gifts. Kids and adults enjoyed live music, a puppet show and more.

Staff from Walgreens were also on hand to help with the event. Set up began the day before but was a culmination of several months of work and planning.

The preparation for next year will start in about February, Justice said.