By E.I. Hillin
Phoenix Staff Writer
Cassandra Gaines knows you’re supposed to spend Christmas with your loved ones, but this year she has other plans.
“It’s not about gifts and toys,” Gaines said. “It’s about having a good meal and conversation.”
Gaines is part of a group that will be volunteering time to provide Christmas dinner and entertainment for those in need.
The Muskogee Medical Foundation, the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame and several Muskogee citizens are banding together to make the holiday a little brighter.
“It can be a down day for those who are lonely or hungry,” said Jim P. Blair, president of the Muskogee Medical Foundation and OMHOF executive director.
The dinner begins at noon Dec. 25 at the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame.
“It starts at noon till the food runs out,” Blair said.
The volunteers plan on preparing enough food for 150 people.
“Anyone who doesn’t have anywhere to go” is invited to attend, Blair said.
Last year, Blair, with the help of Muskogee residents, served Christmas dinner to almost 60 people at the Gospel Rescue Mission. That day made an impact on many of the volunteers.
“Last year it really hit home for the people that worked,” Blair said. “Some people hadn’t eaten in two or three days.”
The Muskogee Medical Foundation will donate the money for the food.
The dinner menu includes brisket, pulled pork, smoked chicken, dressing, gravy, cranberry sauce, corn, green beans, desserts and beverages.
Earnest “Bronko” Carr and Cassandra Gaines will prepare the food.
This year dinner not only features Momma C’s Banana Pudding but also comes with live entertainment. Blair plans on having four to five groups perform, including Carr’s group, De-Elegance.
“We going to do some old school. We do ’80s and ’90s classics and hits,” Carr said.
He jumped at the chance to volunteer to feed and entertain the community.
“It was a no-brainer for me to volunteer my services,” he said. “Let’s help the less fortunate. We’re just going to get up there and do our thing and call it good.”
The dinner and entertainment is free. Blair hopes the event will turn into an annual success.
“We’d love to see this grow and turn into a big event,” he said. “We’d like to make this a tradition and see it become bigger and better.”
Reach E.I. Hillin at (918) 684-2926 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you go
WHAT: Christmas dinner and entertainment.
WHEN: Starts at noon Dec. 25.
WHERE: The Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame, 401 S. Third St.
INFORMATION: Jim P. Blair, (918) 687-0800.