Janie Stevens is again gathering her crew and looking for volunteers and donations for this year’s landmark 35th annual Belle Fourche Community Christmas Dinner.

The event brings together a cross section of nearly 10 percent of the city's population on Christmas Day at the Community Hall to share a meal, holiday greetings and a chance to watch every child receive a gift directly from Santa Claus.

"We always need volunteers," she said. "I've had people calling me already; we need servers, cleaners and delivery people for the Meals on Wheels."

New toy donations for Santa’s annual visit can be made at Mason's Fifth Avenue and Budget Appliance downtown.

"It's always nice to have new ones, unwrapped, but new as in the box," she said.

The gifts are wrapped by the dinner crew, then placed in age-appropriate groupings for distribution to kids by Santa on Christmas.

People can donate turkeys and hams at both major grocers.

Lynn's Dakotamart bakery is involved in helping the dinner's kitchen crew handle the big cooking job.

"We need turkeys or hams at Lynn's because he's going to bake them for us again this year," Stevens said. People can purchase a turkey or ham and have it put back for preparation for the big dinner.

And at Lueders Food Center, Stevens said, "He always donates, and he's really good to us; turkey and ham donations can be made there too."

She estimates about 250 pounds of turkey will be needed this year. That’s 15 to 20 of the birds when roasted and carved for serving.

Veggies already are ready to prepare, Stevens said, "But I need pies and salads."

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Church groups in the past have handled both — especially pies for dessert — but the project is open to others too.

"Volunteers or pie bakers can call me at 210-0722," Stevens said.

Needless to say, she added, cash always can be used to fill in where material donations may fall short of the year's needs.

Stevens said that she works to ensure volunteers are used efficiently so everyone can enjoy the day.

Email addresses and telephone numbers to request rides, for information on donations and volunteering are at http://bfxmasdinner.com/

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Managing editor

Chris Huber is the managing editor at the Rapid City Journal.