Local church gives back to the community on Christmas
SCOTTSBLUFF - Members of the Harvest Valley Church in Scottsbluff were at work by 9 a.m., Christmas Day preparing meals for 900 people in the valley. Each year, members of the church give their time volunteering for the Christmas Dinner in the Valley.
As 11 a.m., approached volunteers, young and old, were busy boxing up meals to be delivered to people who could not make it to the event in person. Volunteers like Robert Garza lined up and moved along an “assembly line” of people who would place ham, mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans, rolls, pie and milk into containerss to be packed and loaded into vehicles.
“We are really busy this year,” Melissa Turman, co-organizer of the event said. “We have about 360 deliveries plus the people who come to the church for a meal.”
The church plans for 900 meals and comes close to making that many each year.
Members of the church were eager to show others their new church building, which they moved into about a year ago, but the day was all about serving others. Allana and Andrew Fitts have been volunteering for 12 years and plan to continue for as long as they can.
“It’s important to serve the community and to make sure everyone who doesn’t have a Christmas dinner has one,” Fitts said.
While everyone was in the kitchen preparing meals, Andrew Fitts and several other volunteers were making sure the smokers were cooking the many pounds of ham needed for the day.
For the Eichners, this is their first year volunteering. They helped out with deliveries as well as serving meals in the church.
“It’s something we always wanted to do, but with family and other stuff we were always busy,” said Becky Eichner. “This year, we decided we can at least help out for a while.”
The Eichners serve the church in a variety of ways, including youth group, but wanted to do more, so they found a way to make it work.
“This is a great way to serve in the community and show the love of Christ by bringing people meals,” Eichner said.
Other volunteers, like Michelle Bolzer, have been volunteering for a long time. This is Bolzer’s fifth year and she was happy to be able to show people her church, but was also grateful for the years the Guadalupe Center opened their doors so the church could host the event there.
“It was nice last year and the years before because we were their guests getting to use another facility when that’s what we needed,” Bolzer said.
Bolzer said for her and her family, the day is a heart-centered way to spend Christmas. Though she and her husband Ryan may not see each other much during the day because they are volunteering in different areas of the church, they both know they are spending the day with God and helping others, she said.
“It’s not based off materialism,” she said. “It’s based off loving other people where they are at in life and getting to know them.”