By Darla Shelden, City Sentinel Reporter –
This story first appeared online on Nov. 18, 2020.
OKLAHOMA CITY – Due to the COVID – 19 virus, the 2020 Red Andrews Christmas Dinner will be held at satellite locations throughout Oklahoma City. No indoor dining. All food will be packaged in to-go boxes, delivered to your car along with toys for children. The event is free and open to the public.
Each year, members of the Red Andrews family, local community leaders, and event volunteers serve warm meals and provide toys for those in need – a holiday tradition that has continued since the 1940s.
The Christmas tradition has typically taken place at the Cox Center in downtown Oklahoma City, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the board felt the satellite locations would better serve the public.
“That would actually get closer to the neighborhoods of the people that we serve,” Robert Goldman, board president of the Red Andrews Christmas Dinner Foundation told News9 reporter Aaron Brilbeck. “We are going to make sure that this happens and that we do it in a safe way.”
Mary Blankenship Pointer, Red Andrews board secretary/treasurer, said, “Last year we fed approximately 7,000 people, gave away thousands of toys and coats. The Red Andrews’ Christmas Dinner is our gift to the community. Due to the economic environment, the needs are greater this year than ever.”
Organizers are asking for the public to help with donations of winter 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 Tuesday, December 1, donations of new, unwrapped toys and coats will be accepted at the following locations: Jackie Cooper BMW – 14145 N Broadway in Edmond; the Goldman Law Firm – 222 NW 13th Street; Cort Furniture – 4300 NW 39th Street; and Frontier State Bank – 5100 S. I-35 Service Road.
“It has been incredible to witness Oklahomans working together in the spirit of serving our neighbors,” added Pointer. “We are all united in that we recognize what a highly-valued and impactful event this has been on the community for many decades.”
Monetary donations should be made payable to the Red Andrews’ Christmas Dinner Foundation, attention Mary Blankenship Pointer, and mailed to 2513 Southwest 124th Street, Oklahoma City, OK 73170.
“Serving at the Red Andrews’ Christmas Dinner has changed my life forever,” Pointer said. “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,” Pointer said.
Volunteers are needed to help prepare food and to-go boxes on Wednesday, December 23, and to serve on Christmas Eve (Thursday) and Christmas Day (Friday).
“We need approximately 200 volunteers,” said Pointer.
Oklahoma City satellite locations for Christmas meal distribution are as follows:
The Homeless Alliance
1724 N.W. 4th Street
Thursday, Dec. 24, Christmas Eve 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.
St. James Catholic School
4201 S. McKinley Avenue
Friday, Dec. 25, Christmas Day 1 – 3 p.m.
Northeast Community Center
3815 N. Kelley Avenue
Friday, Dec. 25, Christmas Day 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.
First Baptist Church of Oklahoma City
1201 N. Robinson Avenue
Friday, Dec. 25, Christmas Day 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
“We have been working hard to provide a safe dinner for the community,” said Pointer. “No inside dining, to-go food only. It will look different, but that is okay. Safety first.”
For more information, contact Mary Pointer at 405-886- 2886. [email protected] or visit redandrewsdinner.org.