By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – The 74th annual Red Andrews Christmas Dinner will be held on Christmas Day, Wednesday, December 25 from 8 a.m. – 2 p.m. in the Event Hall of the Cox Convention Center, 1 Myriad Gardens, in downtown Oklahoma City.
Each year, members of the Red Andrews family, local community leaders, and event volunteers serve warm meals and provide toys to those in need – a holiday tradition that has continued since the 1940s. The event is free and open to the public.
“Last year we fed approximately 8,000 people and gave away thousands of toys and coats,” said Mary Blankenship Pointer, board secretary/treasurer. The Red Andrews’ Christmas Dinner is our gift to the community. People from all walks of life attend. It is heart-warming to see the community work together to provide this wonderful event.”
All participants will receive a warm, turkey dinner with all of the trimmings. Children will have the opportunity to have their photos taken with Santa and each will receive a toy.
“It has been incredible to witness Oklahomans working together in the spirit of serving our neighbors,” said board presidents Robert Goldman. “We are all united in that we recognize what a highly-valued and impactful event this has been on the community for many decades.”
Organizers are also asking for donations of coats of all sizes.
“Last year we gave away hundreds of much needed coats to children and adults,” Pointer said. “Many times the adults will sacrifice to get coats for their children.”
Beginning Sunday, Dec.1, donations of new, unwrapped toys and coats will be accepted at the following Oklahoma City locations: Jackie Cooper BMW, 14145 N Broadway; the Goldman Law Firm, at 222 NW 13th Street; Cort Furniture, 4300 NW 39th Street; and Frontier State Bank, 5100 South I-35 Service Road.
“Serving at the Red Andrews’ Christmas Dinner has changed my life forever, Pointer added. “A young boy with tears in his eyes said that he had been good all year. Unfortunately, when he got up Christmas morning Santa did not leave a gift under the tree for him. Later, he was thrilled to see Santa and receive a toy at the Red Andrews’ Dinner.”
Volunteers are needed to help prepare on Christmas Eve and to serve on Christmas Day. Those wanting to help are asked to come to the southwest corner entrance of the Convention Center.
“We need approximately 500 volunteers,” said Pointer. “The crucial hours are after 1 p.m. on Christmas Day.
“Many people are alone, do not have family, they may not be able to afford to go out – It does not matter your circumstance,” she said. “The most important thing to know is that everyone is invited to eat.”
Monetary donations can be made payable to the Red Andrews’ Christmas Dinner Foundation, attention Mary Blankenship Pointer, 2513 Southwest 124th Street, Oklahoma City, OK 73170.
For more information, contact Mary Pointer at 405-886-2886 or visit redandrewsdinner.org.