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Enjoy free Christmas dinner in Cloquet


December 20, 2019

Pine Knot News

Volunteers Ted Lammi and Vivi Johnson packed up meals to go at Zion Lutheran Church last year.

Christmas will be here before we know it, and Cloquet's Dave Johnson wants to make sure nobody is left out.

Everyone is invited to the 26th annual Cloquet Area Community Christmas Day dinner at 2 p.m. Christmas Day at Zion Lutheran Church, 1000 Washington Ave., Cloquet.

No money? Don't worry, it's free.

Need a ride? Someone will pick you up.

Can't leave home? Volunteers will also be delivering meals.

Anyone who wants transportation or a meal delivered must call the Zion Lutheran Church by noon Monday, Dec. 23 to get on a list.

Volunteers are also asked to call Zion now so organizers can plan for the big event.

"If we have too many [volunteers], they can sit down and eat and chat," Johnson said.

He will be assisted by many, among them his son, who runs the Cloquet Thanksgiving dinner with the Carlton County DAV. Johnson said Raffy and his "family" are helping again.

"That includes the DAV guys," Johnson said. "Several of them will be there in the kitchen."

Many of the other volunteers are families who come back every year.

"It's just amazing and so much fun to see these kids growing up," he said.

Dinner will include roasted ham, meatballs from B&B Market, and side orders including potatoes and gravy, vegetables and rolls. They have 60 fruit pies coming from Super One. Appetizers include shrimp, fruit and veggie trays. Of course there will be Christmas cookies. And there will be lots of giveaways - bags of goodies and gift certificates from places like Sammy's and Valentini's, among others - on top of all the free food. The meal is supported by donations from ministry, individuals and businesses.

Johnson said he expects to serve close to 700 dinners, between those who come to the church to eat, carry out food, or order a meal delivered.

Santa Claus is coming too, so kids can ask him all those vitally important questions about reindeer and more.

Johnson said they've had to cancel only one Christmas meal the past 25 years for bad weather, so he's optimistic.

"We have someone to plow, so the weather would have to be pretty bad to cancel," he said. "It's unlikely though. We will say some prayers."


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