First Community Christmas event offered food, company to those in need

The quality of the first Community Christmas won out over quantity.

Only about 40 people showed up for the first event on Christmas Day at the Odd Fellows Hall in Oak Harbor. However, the experience was “absolutely” a success, according to Melissa Riker, one of the event’s organizers.

Two free meals were served to the community at the event with food provided by Flyers Restaurant and Brewery. About 10 meals also were delivered to people’s homes.

The idea to try to keep people in the community from spending Christmas alone came from Ryan Wallin, owner of Ronsons Design & Construction. A small group put the event together in less than a month.

The Community Christmas started with a biscuits and gravy breakfast and later included a chili and cornbread lunch.

“We had people coming in right away,” Riker said. “We had a lot of food. We had some people donate some clothes at the last minute and blankets and winter kinds of things like gloves and hats and people came in and got some clothes off the racks. It was really great.”

Riker said that there was plenty of leftover food, which was donated to the Spin Cafe, a food kitchen downtown that serves free meals two nights a week.

Riker said she was pleasantly surprised by the number of volunteers who called her and wanted to help. She said she and Wallin already are planning to meet to discuss plans for the 2014 event.


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