Updated: Thursday, 24 Dec 2009, 9:36 PM MST
Published : Thursday, 24 Dec 2009, 9:36 PM MST
BELEN, N.M. (KRQE) - As times get tougher more people are coming to the Christmas Eve dinner in Belen where you can always find a friendly face and forget your troubles, at least for a little while.
Tamales, turkey and all the trimmings form a holiday feast.
"For us to be a part of this is really a true blessing," Curtis Wilkes told KRQE News 13. "For my family here, we are not doing all the best right now, but we are trying to get through it just like everyone else."
And for at least the day the Wilkes family is getting through it with other families
For the 14th year the Salvation Army has organized the Christmas dinner where all the food is either donated or made from scratch.
"I think that is what makes it more enjoyable because it's like home and we all eat together as a family," said Yvonne Salazar, the dinner founder with the Salvation Army Family Service Belen unit. "The giving part is my favorite, and seeing the children smile. They are just so excited."
The kids are excited because this dinner also included a visit from a familiar figure dressed in a red suit trimmed in white. And a new toy that means they will have something to play with come Christmas morning.
"It means everything," one volunteer server said. "It's what we are here for.
Making spirits bright while reminding us all what the holiday season is truly about.
"You couldn't ask for anything more," Wilkes said.
Thursday's dinner drew the biggest crowd ever although there was still plenty of food and toys to go around.
This dinner originally started in the parking lot of the
Ladyhawk Feed Store but eventually moved into the Rio Abajo Lodge
where it is still held.