Originally Published: January 5, 2017 6 a.m.
Thirty-five years ago, the Rector of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church was talking with a friend one morning about the need to serve an enjoyable, joy-filled community dinner on Christmas Day. The dinner would be served to local people who were alone, felt lonely or abandoned, were homeless, or who lacked the means to enjoy food and companionship at Christmas time.
So, in 1980, St. Luke’s served its first Don’t Spend Christmas Alone dinner in the basement of our small church building, which at that time was located in the center of downtown Prescott. The young people of the parish went out into the community on Christmas Day, to invite people to the celebration. Joyful church volunteers prepared and served 200 meals. All who came were welcomed and Don’t Spend Christmas Alone became a St. Luke’s tradition from then forward.
These days, Don’t Spend Christmas Alone is a popular annual community outreach event, at which St. Luke’s parish members, public safety personnel from the Quad Cities and volunteer supporters from the community at large, all come together to make this special day a joyful one for those less fortunate. It is provided completely free of charge to our guests.
This year, despite the snow of Christmas Eve, and icy roads on Christmas day, the work, dedication, diligence and generosity of time and skill of over 278 volunteers including Civil Air Patrol Cadets and Senior Members, made Don’t Spend Christmas Alone once again, an amazing event.
Volunteers provided personal transportation and Shuttle pick-ups at designated locations in Prescott, Prescott Valley and Chino Valley were made available from Yavapai Regional Transit, New Horizons and Prescott Christian Church.
The Prescott, Prescott Valley and Chino Valley Fire Departments, Police Departments in Prescott and Prescott Valley, including their respective Chiefs, parish members and local citizens, delivered a total of 314 meals to the home-bound in the quad-city area, while 425 guests dined at the Church.
Dinner rolls and tens of dozens of cookies and pies were donated by local businesses, agencies, The Prescott Valley and Chino Valley Public Libraries, private citizens and St. Luke’s members.
A professional photographer was present, there were cheerful Christmas décor, and festive carols by a professional D.J, and yes, Santa Claus himself dropped in. Guests headed home with a warm handshake, a smile, a bag of cookies and comfort in the knowledge that on this joyous day, they were not alone.
Guests and volunteers you are deeply appreciated; “It takes a village” indeed.
Happy New Year, quad-city community!
Angeles Ramos Zarate, Chairwoman DSCA-2016