Havre Daily News
Pat Long of Havre was alone on Christmas. Her family was all out of state. She didn't feel like cooking a meal for herself.
Luckily, a friend told her about the community Christmas dinner at the Eagles Club.
“It's nice to have a place to have dinner. I didn't want to be alone,” Long said after finishing her meal. Long said her first time at the annual dinner was “wonderful.”
Sunday's dinner, which was dedicated to members of the armed forces, was a success, with about 750 meals served, said organizer Bob Bergren, a state representative and Havre firefighter.
Bergren said the volunteers numbered about 40, including those who delivered meals to homes.
Kathy Remington, president of Eagles Club Auxillary 166, has been volunteering for the Christmas dinner for the last 25 years.
“We raise our hand all of the time to volunteer,” Remington said of Eagles members.
She called the turnout “beautiful.”
Remington's son, Robert Koszewski, also volunteered for the feast. He said he was pleased with the amount of donations he collected and the number of meals served, which totalled 225 at 1 p.m.
“It's not about the food, it's about seeing friends you haven't seen all year,” Remington added.
“It is a community dinner. Come one, come all,” Bergren said.
Bergren said it was nice to see a lot of families at the dinner this year.
Kelugh Fournier of Chinook attended the meal for the first time after hearing about it on the radio. He said the “delicious” dinner worked out nicely because his daughter and her husband were on their way to Great Falls, so the meal was a nice send-off.
More than 200 meals were delivered. The total of attendees was about 20 more than last year, Bergren said. He added that he was really happy with the turnout and thought the nice weather may have played a part.
Thirty-six turkeys, which were cooked at Gary & Leo's IGA, were delivered Saturday. Bergren said Monday that a little bit of turkey was left over.
“The meal was good and we had plenty of it,” said Bergen, who has been organizing the dinner for three years. The dinner included rolls, fresh vegetables, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, sweet potatoes, corn, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie. Bergren, his family members and PJ's Restaurant and Casino, which is owned by family members, helped foot the cost of the dinner. Other contributors included a number of local businesses and individuals.
Cash donations were accepted at the dinner to help pay the costs. The Eagles provided the use of its facility at no charge.
Musician Raymond Miller along with his wife, Margaret, and two daughters provided music for the meal. After last year's dinner went without live music, Miller offered his services to Bergren.
“It's a giving thing. Christmas is the time of giving,” Miller said while his wife sang a Christmas carol. The Millers sang holiday standards along with some Elvis Presley classics and other songs.