Full bellies and spirit

Community dinner attendees fill up with Christmas cheer

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Matthew Schmidt and Micah Merrifield enjoy the food the Board of Realtors' Community Christmas Dinner.

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Enjoying their filling meal, Ray and Ruth Furbush attended their first Board of Realtors' Community Christmas Dinner yesterday

— Even for the volunteer musicians, the Board of Realtors' annual Community Christmas Dinner is about more than filling their bellies.

"The folks sat there the whole time and smiled and grinned at us. They made it so easy," said John Fisher of the Yampa Valley Boys. "Besides that, it's turkey time."

Entertainment also was provided by pianist Paul Potyen and singer Pam Pierce.

The dinner took the Board of Realtors two months to organize, 50 volunteers to execute and 75 to 100 people to prepare and donate food. Because there were so many toys for the children this year, each child was encouraged to take more than one.

"We had so many toys that there were too many to wrap, so we just put a bow on them," said volunteer Annette Hall. "Kids want to see what they're getting. There was even an iPod donated thttps://admin.steamboatpilot.com/news/stories/add/#his year."

Hall and her two daughters, Allison and Alicia, have been volunteering for the Community Christmas Dinner for eight years.

"We have our Christmas on Christmas Eve and come back every year to work this for the community," Hall said. "There were more people early on this year, which is good because it means people are coming out."

Megan, Kelly and Tucker Limberg were very excited to receive a glow bear, Mancala (game), a sled and an electronic game.

"We come every year because my parents like to work in the kitchen," Tucker,7, said. "My favorite part is the music, but the toys are better."

Ray and Ruth Furbush attended the dinner for the first time this year.

"I came because I like to get fat," Ray said. "And it gets you ready for the Boston Marathon."

All of the preparation and hard work is worth it to see the community come together to share Christmas with each other.

"This wonderful celebration is the result of so many of our community members volunteering their time, energy and holiday spirit," said public relations chair Adam Bleesz. "This is an amazing experience. Just about everything you see here has been donated from the smoked turkey to the live music. If it were not for our generous community, this would not be possible."

Co-chair Colleen de Jong sent some people home with food because there was plenty to go around.

"They're so much beautiful energy. I love it," de Jong said. "I can't wait to do it next year."

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