The Salida Community Center, 305 F St., served approximately 480 meals, including 250 meals delivered by volunteer drivers, Saturday for the Salida Community Christmas Dinner, said Elaine Allemang, center director.

Jeff Yoast, head chef for the event, said they had 10 to 12 delivery routes this year. The rest of the meals went to people who picked up the meals at the center.

Yoast said it took “days and days of prep work” to be ready for the event. He and Ira Curry, who Yoast described as his “right-hand man,” ran the kitchen while many other volunteers served and delivered the food. 

Allemang said approximately 75 people volunteered, and the event had “lots and lots of good volunteers.” She said they try to keep volunteer hours minimal so individuals have time to see their family during the holidays.

Volunteer Grace Morrisette, said,“We had to slice 70 pecan pies into eight pieces each. That was a little bit more of a job than I was expecting, but we did a good job.”

Yoast said the event was about helping the community. He said when somebody says thank you 15 times, you know the meal meant a lot to them. 

Trisha Evans said she first volunteered for the event three years ago after moving to Salida. She said it was a way to help the community and get to know people.

In the past people have been able to eat at the center, but for the second year in a row the event was restricted to pick up or delivery. Allemang said, “Tthis way it keeps everybody safe.” 2021 marked the seventh year the event was held at the center.

Allemang said, “The Salida Community Center board would like to express our gratitude to each and every one for your caring hearts, compassion and support. The volunteers’ work has proven that one person can make a significant difference – be it either with your time or financial support. 

“With your help we provided Thanksgiving and Christmas meals to over 1,100 people. On behalf of everyone that you helped this holiday season, thank you for being so passionate about making the world a better place. It is people like you that make life beautiful. Thank you for all you do.”

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