Event may return annually
By Brooke Curley
SAFFORD – What started out as a simple dinner turned into a work of service that one woman – with the assistance of her family and the community – might continue for years to come.
Cheryl Post told Gila Valley Central that the dinner on Christmas Day at Firth Park started out as just a meal for the homeless. However, the community quickly pitched in and before Post knew it, the simple dinner turned into something much bigger and even more memorable.
“I wanted to do something on Christmas Day to help those less fortunate, (and) I asked my coworker Roderick Hogg if anyone did anything (and) where we could maybe go and volunteer,” Post said. “I started calling around to all of the local churches and no one knew of anything happening on Christmas Day. It started off just for the homeless, and evolved into a dinner for everyone at the Safe House, and anyone else who needed a Christmas dinner.”
Post told Gila Valley Central that roughly 50 people showed up for the dinner. The dinner itself was a full-course meal with turkey, ham, sweet potato casserole, all the way up to homemade pies. Several boxes of leftovers were sent to Meals on Wheels, while everything else was donated to the Safe House. Live music was performed by students from the Safford High School, but what amazed Post was the community’s willingness to contribute to the cause.
“I cannot believe the outreach that we got from the community (and) how many people came out to help,” she said. “This would not have been possible without the people in the community donating time money and food. The Safford Dance Academy raised $1,000 toward the backpacks that we gave out to all of the homeless plus the presents that we gave to the 10 children from the Safe House. We also had many presents donated by individuals in our community.”
(See Gila Valley Central’s article on the Safford Dance Academy’s fundraising effort here.)
The community banded together and gave out hats, socks, and hygiene supplies. Snacks were distributed, and gloves were given to those in need. Post told Gila Valley Central that her children who came to help her with the dinner were incredibly impressed by the entire experience.
“My children who came out to help were overwhelmed at how happy people were with just small things. It was a great experience for my family, and I know it was a great experience for a lot of other families who came out,” Post said. “It was definitely a great experience for me and my family.”
Because of the willingness of the community to work together and contribute, Post is seriously contemplating making the dinner an annual event. When Gila Valley Central asked what she would change in future dinners, Post said that she honestly couldn’t think of anything.
“We have actually discussed that and we’re hoping to make it a possibility to do it (the dinner) from now on. We will just have to see what this next year brings but hopefully this will be an annual event,” Post said. “Everything turned out so well, I couldn’t have asked for a better turnout.”
If anyone wishes to contact Post about possible contributions to next year’s Christmas dinner, they may email her at Cntpost13@gmail.com