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Community dinner offered on Christmas Day

Since 1994, community volunteers have served up a special Christmas Community Dinner on Dec. 25. This year is no exception.

Julia Britzius, Ariel Berres Green and Katie L'Allier -- New Richmond High School co-chairs of the 2008 Christmas Community Dinner -- together with the United Methodist Church, extend a warm invitation to members of the greater New Richmond community to attend the 2008 dinner.

The meal's menu includes ham with all the trimmings, plus live musical entertainment and a visit from one of Santa's elves.

For those unable to venture outside for the dinner, take-out meals with home delivery are available

The dinner is set for Christmas Day, Dec. 25, at the United Methodist Church, 209 E. Second St., New Richmond. Attendees are asked to arrive at 11:30 a.m., with food served at noon.

Reservations can be called in to Kristi Rogers at the UMC office, 246-2464.

The annual meal was started by Liz Brooks Peterson, then a junior at New Richmond High School, who recognized the need for a Christmas Day meal similar to the Thanksgiving Day Community meal served at Immaculate Conception Church.

The tradition started by Brooks Peterson and a host of volunteers from the high school service clubs, together with volunteers from the United Methodist Church, has carried on to this day.

Besides meeting a community need, Peterson knew that students cared and were looking for ways to demonstrate their community spirit.

"The community invests a lot in students and this was a good way to pay the community back," Peterson said.

The momentum for the first dinner resulted from engaging a variety of individuals and groups both from the high school and the community.

Being involved in a number of different school organizations helped Peterson look for unique ways different clubs could contribute based on their respective missions. FFA provided poinsettias, FHA baked cookies, Art Club decorated, etc.

The service organizations that helped with the first dinner remain involved today; National Honor Society, Key Club, FFA, FHA, STS Art Club and Student Government.

Peterson said she believes growing up in a smaller community helped establish her commitment to service.

"I can't begin to count the number of mentors and role models this community provided to me as I was growing up," she said.

Peterson is really pleased to see the continued involvement of the high school students in the Christmas dinner and hopes the students find their participation as rewarding as she did.

"Most of my greatest learning and leadership experiences came from my community service. I also know my experience was a significant factor in my ability to attend the college I set my sights on [Northwestern University]," she said.