Rachael Van Horn
Woodward, Okla. —
It’s a great time of year, Christmas.
But for some, who perhaps are homebound or without family, Christmas can mean feeling even more isolated than you are the rest of the year.
For that reason, in 2007, when Denny Hopkins handed the reins of the annual Hopkins Community Christmas Dinner to Chris Keeton, owner of Jericho Oil Field Services, it turned out to be an activity that bestowed a surprising benefit to those who participated, said Jericho Operations Manager Gregory Frazier.
The dinner is well known now by its new name, the Jericho Community Christmas Dinner.
“Well, it turned into a blessing for my family,” said Frazier, who has been with the company for three years. “We can all kind of get selfish this time of year and it kind of opened my eyes personally that there are bigger and better things to be doing.”
The Christmas Day dinner is held in the Pioneer Room located at the city office complex. The dinner will begin at 11:30 a.m.
The meal, except for desserts, is a full Christmas dinner with all the trimmings and is donated by Jericho Oil Field Services.
Frazier said volunteers to help serve at the Pioneer Room, carry meals to shut-ins, donations of toys for children’s gifts and also to make desserts are still needed.
“We always depend on volunteers to make desserts,” he said.
Desserts can be made and dropped on December 24, between 8 a.m. and noon at the Pioneer Room. However, if the dessert needs to be refrigerated, Frazier asks that they be brought the day of the dinner.
The event is orchestrated in such a way to feel like a normal Christmas day, just a much bigger family with a lot more kids and a lot more grandpas and grandmas, Frazier said.
So of course, there will be a gift opening session.
Every child there will leave with something, Frazier said.
His statement was one of faith, because at the moment, the coordinators of the dinner find themselves a little slim in the toy department. “We always get more of all of those things as Christmas gets closer, but I always get a little nervous that we will have enough toys for the kids,” he said.
Toy drop off points exist at both United Grocery Stores, Walmart at both entrances, Grocery and Janitorial Supply of Woodward, located west of United on Oklahoma, Devine Radio Shack, K101 and a box at Jericho Oil Field Services on Highway 270 north of Woodward.
Frazier said there is even a plan this year for those who cannot get out.
Those who are unable to leave their home or don’t have anyone to drive them to the Pioneer Room for the meal can get their meal delivered, Frazier said.
Those in need of that service should call the Senior Center at 580-254-8566 and leave a message on the machine, he said.
“They need to say how many meals they need, their address and a contact number where we can call in case we get lost,” he said.
Those who wish to volunteer or make a dessert and have more questions, can call Jericho Oil Field Services at 254-0076.
“For me, if you ask me to reduce how I feel about volunteering on Christmas Day, it is ‘Meaningful’, Like I might change someone’s life,” he said. “We tend to concentrate on the kids gifts a lot this time of year, but what has affected me most are the older people who come through. Maybe they have no family. Maybe their family has already come and gone. But to me, they are equally important as the kids.”