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Volunteers save Christmas dinner

Two volunteers have stepped up to the plate to organize the annual community Christmas dinner.

State Rep. Bob Bergren will chair the organizational effort. He'll be assisted by Wes Gorman.

The dinner, which has been held every Christmas Day for more than 30 years, faced an uncertain future this year after organizers Bob and Judy Sivertson stepped down.

Bergren said he volunteered to chair the event because many people would otherwise be unable to enjoy a Christmas dinner.

"I did some checking on it - they've served between 500 and 700 people each year. With that much of a demand for it, I figured people would be excited to have it again this year," he said. "It's a great thing for the community."

Bergren, who is a Havre firefighter, said his immediate family has volunteered to help out, as have other firefighters.

"I checked those logistics before I volunteered to make sure this could happen," he said.

Gorman, a construction worker who has volunteered to work at the dinner in the past, said he did not want to see it canceled.

"I've helped out with it before, and after 30 years, I didn't want to see it go in the tank," he said.

Tom Farnham, who manages the Eagles, said he is pleased Bergren and Gorman have taken the initiative to make sure sure the Christmas dinner tradition continues. The dinner is held at the Eagles Club.

Although the Eagles Club is not responsible for the event, he said club members typically volunteer at the dinner.

"We'd sure like to see it happen, because over the years you see a lot of smiling faces on Christmas Day," he said. "You see some older couples where it didn't make sense to cook for two people, and of course the shut-ins really appreciate having a meal delivered to them."

The feast consists of the traditional Christmas turkey with fixings, and is delivered to shut-ins by members of the Havre Jaycees Club. The dinner is free, but donations are accepted.

The event is funded entirely through donations, both from people attending the dinner and from local service organizations, Farnham said.

The turkeys will be cooked by Gary & Leo's IGA, Bergren said. Entertainment will be by Vivian Krugler and Ernie Hofmann.

This year's dinner should be very similar to ones in previous years, Gorman said.

"It's pretty much the same show," Gorman said. "We have shut-ins we deliver to and the people that come in for a sit-down meal. There's a lot of people out of Whitefish that work for the railroad that come in and have a place to eat Christmas dinner because most of the restaurants are closed."

Anyone interested in volunteering can call Bergren at 265-9078 or sign up at the Eagles or the North Central Senior Citizens Center. People who want dinner delivered can call 265-5464 the week of Christmas.


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