Steamboat Community Christmas Dinner solicits volunteers, donations and guests |

Steamboat Community Christmas Dinner solicits volunteers, donations and guests

Michael Schrantz

— When Glenna Clark-Olmsted started in 1991 what would become an annual Community Christmas Dinner hosted by the Steamboat Springs Board of Realtors, she was coming to the realization that her then young son would be spending Christmas Day with his father into the foreseeable future.

"I was having a rough time with the holidays, being lonely and sad and by myself," Clark-Olmsted said.

Not wanting Christmas Day to become a recurring seclusion, she turned it into a project to bring together Steamboat's community and everyone who might be new to town, looking to meet new people, or a single parent who might otherwise spend the holiday alone.

Now, 22 years later and 12 years after Clark-Olmsted handed over the reins to others, the Community Christmas Dinner continues to grow.

Lorraine Morrison, this year's organizer, said that, first of all, everyone is invited to attend.

Second, there's still ways to help out for those interested in donating food or volunteering.

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A finite number of ovens in Steamboat puts a premium on cooked turkeys, but the event also needs vegetable dishes, hams, desserts and mashed potatoes.

Morrison and others will be accepting food donations from noon to 3 p.m. on Christmas Eve at the Steamboat Springs Community Center next to the transit center on U.S. Highway 40. Setup for the event begins at 10 a.m., and donations can be dropped off then, as well.

The dinner itself will run from 2 to 6 p.m.

Any food donations will be accepted, Morrison said, but those in disposable pans are preferred.

Those interested also can contact Morrison about volunteering at 970-819-3115. "People can show up the day of and we'll put them to work," she said.

Morrison has a committee behind her to help with the work of organizing the event, and Sandi Martin is the co-chairwoman. Paul Hands pulled together all the live music, Ray Wright will be orchestrating the kitchen, Kim Kreissig is handling the decorations and all the brokers from the Board of Realtors have supported the event, Morrison said.

Morrison said for people to bring themselves, a smile and some good conversation.

Clark-Olmsted will be there herself, showing up early to put in some work.

There've been some changes to the dinner since 1991.

The name was changed to try and attract a greater swath of the community. And the time for the dinner was extended later into the day to provide a place for Steamboat Ski Area employees who might be just getting off work.

"It's turned out to be something that's very beneficial for a lot of people," Clark-Olmsted said.

To reach Michael Schrantz, call 970-871-4206, email or follow him on Twitter @MLSchrantz

How to help

Click here to view a signup list for volunteers and donations. Lorraine Morrison can be reached at 970-819-3115, and Sandi Martin can be reached at 970-819-6556.

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