Woodward, Okla. —
This year's Jericho Community Christmas Dinner was the place to be Christmas morning, even before it began, said event organizer, Gregory Fraizer of Jericho Oil Field Services.
As volunteers hustled and bustled around, cooking and carrying in gifts, families wandered in, children played and the smell of roasting turkey filled the air.
"There were people here at 9:30 when I got there this morning," Fraizer said.
And the people just kept coming.
"This is a pretty big group," Fraizer said looking around the crowded Pioneer Room. "It is definitely a success, I'd say."
As the Jericho Community Christmas Dinner tradition grows over the years, so does its appeal to many community members, who see the event as a rich new tradition.
So, while the event originally began years ago as a gathering for people who found themselves without family or the means to pay for a holiday meal, it is now a place who families go to spend time together.
For the Olewinski family, the Jericho Community Christmas Dinner was a kind of celebration
The whole family, including adult children who also had families of their own, left Tucson, Ariz., a little over a year ago and moved to Woodward on the faith they would find work here, said Savannah Olewinski.
She said the move included family matriarch Leeza Oliwinski, 15-year-old Adam Olewinski, 13-year-old Joey Olewinski, 14-month-old Jayden Olewinski, 25-year old James Merideth and his wife, Theresa and their baby Ethan.
Family friend Dennis Tapia also came along to find work as well.
And the family was not disappointed when they came to Woodward.
"All of us who were looking, found jobs," Savannah Olewinski said.
"I work at Braums, James works at Crescent Services, LLC of Woodward," she said.