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Auburn church prepares to serve up Christmas feast for hundreds

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From 2-4 p.m. Christmas Day, Bethlehem Lutheran Church will serve a free meal to all who arrive at the church, 1279 High St., Auburn. This is the 22nd year for the dinner, and Dave Raught, who coordinates the meal with his sister, Sue Christensen, said it has certainly grown since the first year, when 75 people enjoyed the meal. “Last year we served about 435 meals or so,” Raught said, adding that of those, about 200 were delivered to people in the community who were unable to travel to the church. Christensen organizes the kitchen, which dishes up turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy, vegetables, rolls, Jell-O salad, cranberry relish, pies, cakes, cookies and beverages to the guests. Raught said several area churches pitch in to help as well. Sierra Grace Fellowship supplies everything needed for stuffing, and Gold Country Church will donate the green salad. “Pioneer Methodist does all the mashed potatoes,” Raught said. “They get together on Christmas morning and have a potato-mashing party and bring those over.” Church is held from 10-11a.m., and after that volunteers start arriving to help out as needed. Raught said there are many jobs to do, and all volunteers need to do to help is show up and get an assignment. For many, volunteering at the dinner has become a Christmas tradition. “On Christmas Day, volunteers come from just about anywhere, all over the region,” Raught said. “We’ve had people from the Bay Area come up just for the heck of it. They have ties up here, and so they’re up in the area anyway, so they come on down.” ~ Krissi Khokhobashvili ----------- Christmas dinner What: 22nd annual dinner in celebration of Christ’s birth When: 2-4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 25 Where: Bethlehem Lutheran Church, 1279 High St., Auburn Cost: Free Information: (530) 885-4515. Call the same number to arrange for meal delivery or transportation to the dinner.