Cortez gears up for annual community Christmas dinner

Volunteers and donations needed

Friends and family will gather again this year for the annual Cortez community dinner at the county annex on Christmas Day.

“The holiday season is the time of year when we all have a sense of hope that the world can be a better place,” said Karen Sheek, a volunteer. “In Cortez, that hope is translated into action by people who participate in and carry on a tradition that is the essence of what Christmas means – giving to others.”

The event started more than 20 years ago and drew about 50 to 60 people. It was held for those in town who didn’t have family in the area or a place to go on Christmas, said Mitchell Toms, a volunteer. Now they plan for about 600 people. Some people come to have a cup of coffee with friends and listen to Audrey Allmon and her band play country songs, he said.

Local businesses including Sysco, City Market and Wal-mart give the team of volunteers discounts on the ingredients to make the traditional turkey dinner and all the trimmings. Montezuma-Cortez School District provides warehouse facilities for food delivery and temporary storage. Cliffrose and Four Seasons Greenhouse donate poinsettias to decorate the building.

Volunteers are needed on Christmas Eve to set up tables and decorate. Volunteers are also needed 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Christmas. If you want to help, call the Cortez Cultural Center at 565-1151.

Donations can be made at Citizens State and Vectra banks. Dinner is free and will be served Christmas Day at the Montezuma County Annex at 106 West North St., 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.