By Mary-Justine Lanyon
Folks across the mountain pondering the true meaning of Christmas need look no further than the dinner put on by Operation Provider at the Elks Lodge at 26584 Highway 18 in Rimforest.
To look at Holland Lowe, executive director of Operation Provider, on Christmas Day is to gaze into the face of a happy woman. After weeks of planning, she and her family spend the day with hundreds of their closest friends.
Once again Lowe and her army of volunteers will be hosting a very special dinner on Christmas Day. All are welcome, Lowe emphasizes, whether it’s because of financial or emotional need. What Lowe doesn’t want to have happen is for anyone to spend the day alone.
The dinner takes place in a transformed Elks Lodge. Lowe is in need of volunteers to decorate on Dec. 24 at 9 a.m. And decorate they do, with lights, festive streamers and a beautiful tree. Each table is set with a tablecloth and guests are served a delicious Christmas dinner with all the trimmings.
“This will be a great time, a time to share the love of Christ together,” Lowe said. Dinner—turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, yams, vegetables and dessert—will be served from 11:00 a.m. to 3 p.m. Each year Lowe expects 500 too 600 guests at the Elks Lodge.
Pastor Daniel Meers of Woodlands Church has once again arranged to have the turkeys cooked. “He and his family are also coming to cook the sides,” said Lowe. Volunteers are needed on Dec. 24 from 3 to 5 p.m. at the Elks Lodge to prep and cook the fixings to go with the turkey and ham.
Before, during and after dinner, guests can visit with Santa and his elf. As they leave, each child who is preregistered will be given a gift. But Santa being Santa will dig into his bag of toys and come up with a toy for every child.
“Everyone is welcome to come and celebrate the birth of Jesus with us,” Lowe said. “This is such a blessing to be able to provide this annual Christmas Day celebration with our families here on our mountain.”
In addition to needing volunteers to decorate on Dec. 24, Lowe could use more volunteers to serve dinner to the guests on Christmas Day, as well as a clean-up crew at 3 p.m. on the 25th and musicians to lead guests in singing Christmas carols. Give her a call at Operation Provider, (909) 337-8585. She also needs donations of desserts—pies and cookies.
“We hope to make this a memorable Christmas for all of our families and their children here on the mountain,” Lowe said.
For more information on Operation Provider and its services, visit www.operationprovider.org.