Woodward, Okla. —
No one should be alone on Christmas.
That's why Jericho Services invites the community to come together to enjoy food and fellowship on Christmas Day as part of the annual Jericho Christmas Dinner.
"The dinner is for anybody and everybody," said Jamie Lawther, one of the event organizers. "It's for anyone who doesn't have a place to go for Christmas dinner, that includes families whose children have all grown up and moved away or somebody who just needs a Christmas meal."
The Jericho Christmas Dinner will be held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Dec. 25 at the Pioneer Room.
Lawther said the meal "will be a traditional Christmas dinner, with turkey, stuffing, rolls, green beans, all the favorites."
There will also be desserts, which are provided by members of the community, she said.
But more than just enjoying a warm meal, Lawther said the Jericho Christmas Dinner is about bringing the community together.
"The Christmas Dinner is a time for people to come together and enjoy each other's company," she said.
However, those who can't make it to the Pioneer Room on Christmas Day, such as those who are homebound, can still partake of the meal.
"We will be taking to-go orders again like we did last year. If someone would like to order a meal, then they need to call the Senior Center by 5 p.m. on the Friday before Christmas (Dec. 21)," Lawther said, noting "the Senior Center delivers all those meals for us."
To order a to-go meal, call the Woodward Senior Center at (580) 254-8566.
THE GIFT OF GIVING BACK
Lawther said the Christmas Dinner is also a way for the Jericho Services company to give back to the community.
"The reason for the season is Jesus. So we hold the Christmas Dinner to give back to the community, like Christ gave to us. It's a way to celebrate his birth and give back to the community," she said.
She said the company feels it is important to give back to the community, because the success of the company is interlinked with the success of the community.
"Because without a good supporting community, companies don't have employees. They support us through our jobs, so we need to support them," she said.
That is why, in addition to the meal, the Jericho Christmas Dinner also seeks to provide Christmas gifts to children in the community.
"The Christmas Dinner also gives children who wouldn't normally get gifts an opportunity to get presents and just experience Christmas," Lawther said.
VOLUNTEERS, DONATION NEEDED
Since Jericho Services sponsors the Christmas Dinner, many of its employees devote their time to helping make the community event a success.
However, more volunteers are always needed and appreciated.
"For the dinner itself, volunteers come to help put the meal together," Lawther said, noting "we need volunteers to help serve the food and to help in the kitchen with preparing the meal."
Those interested in helping with the meal are asked to arrive at the Pioneer Room by 8 a.m. on Dec. 25. Lawther said there is no need for volunteers to register; "they can just show up on Christmas morning and we'll put them to work."
Another way community members can help with the dinner is by providing homemade desserts for the meal. Lawther said desserts can be dropped off at the Jericho Services office, located northwest of Woodward along Highway 270, up until noon on Dec. 24. Or you can deliver desserts to the Pioneer Room on Christmas morning.
In addition to desserts, Lawther said Jericho Services is also seeking toy donations in order to ensure there are enough gifts for all the children who attend the dinner.
"We do from birth through the early teens and we do ask for a maximum of $20 per gift," she said.
Collection sites for the toy donations include Walmart, both United grocery stores, K101, Devine's Radio Shack and the Woodward News.
Those wishing to donate toys and gifts are asked to do so before Dec. 21, which is when Jericho employees will be picking up the donation boxes from each of the collection sites.