Annual Cortez Christmas dinner returns

Keywords: Poll question,

Hundreds will enjoy special holiday meal

By Rachel Segura

Journal Staff Writer

December 25 has always been a time for family gatherings and goodwill toward fellow men and women.

For more than 20 years, the Cortez community has embraced the Christmas spirit by providing a traditional dinner to area residents, their visiting families and anyone needing a good meal.

At 11:30 a.m., hungry folks who are alone, have too many family members to feed or want to change up their holiday can come to the Montezuma County Annex and fill their tummies with good food. There will be a large spread of turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans, cranberry sauce, dinner rolls and assorted desserts.

There is no charge for the Christmas dinner and everyone in the community is welcome to attend. The dinner will stop being served at 1:30 p.m.

Volunteers will be present to serve food and take plates to tables. Cortez City Council member Karen Sheek supervises and organizes the dinner. She says this is just another opportunity Cortez provides to its residents that shows how giving people can be.

"Every year I am impressed by what this community is able to do," Sheek said. "The time, talent and money put into everything is impressive for the size of our little town. It's wonderful to be able to have these kinds of traditions."

Sheek spends her time in the kitchen at the annex, making sure food is aplenty and plates are steadily flowing. On a yearly basis, there are 25 to 35 volunteers in the kitchen area alone.

There are also a few families who bring their children to help volunteer. Any extra hands, no matter how small, are welcomed. Sheek said families who bring their kids want to teach them to do a genuine community service and bring some extra Christmas cheer.

She hopes to have plenty of helping hands since they are expecting at least 600 people at this year's dinner.

Other generous community leaders such as Mitchell Toms, who volunteers his services every year to the dinner's production, help to provide enough food to everyone. Toms helped order the necessary trimmings for this year's feast.

The last two years, dinner organizers have decided to buy pre-cooked turkeys from local grocery stores City Market and Safeway. The stores also provide a holiday service by selling the turkeys at discounted prices.

The convenience of the turkeys being already cooked has helped shave off extra stress and time.

Sysco, a food service provider for the Cortez area, also sold food for the dinner at a discount. Private donations are given by individuals in the community and are taken at Vectra Bank or Citizen's State Bank leading up to the dinner.

Sheek says people continue to give monetary donations up until Christmas Eve. And most all of the desserts are donated by community members. Some may choose to make or buy a dessert and others bring cookies or pies they bake at home.

For more than two decades, the Cortez community has taken pride in giving, sharing and taking care of its residents during the holidays.

Volunteers will set up for the dinner on Christmas Eve. Monetary or dessert donations should be dropped off at the annex building at 103 N. Chestnut anytime after 8 a.m. Christmas Day.