For more than 30 years, the people of Rogers County have been graciously sharing the Christmas spirit with a traditional Christmas dinner basket for those in need.
Pat Reeder, Public Relations Director of the Will Rogers Memorial Museums and a long-time member of the Share the Spirit board of directors, spoke with the Progress about the history of the charity and it’s benefit to the community.
In the winter of 1987, people started to notice that senior citizens and families with DHS subsidies were being inundated with non-perishable food items around Christmas time, but still weren’t getting anything close to a traditional hot meal with fresh produce.
“People can go anywhere and get a food basket,” Reeder said. “The people who started Share the Spirit were concerned that fellow community members wouldn’t have a traditional Christmas dinner, because they didn’t have the money.”
Two things happened.
The Elk’s Lodge began to host a Christmas dinner for seniors in the community.
And the Department of Human Services teamed up with the Claremore Daily Progress staff to put together an annual food basket filled specifically with fresh, ripe, traditional holiday foods.
The latter was dubbed Share the Spirit.
The impetus behind it: “Everybody deserves to have some kind of a tradition in their life,” Reeder said. “Especially when it comes to Christmas.”
“Christmas is not all about the presents and toys under the tree, but about getting together for a family meal, and having enough food for a family meal,” Reeder said. “It’s about having an experience with family that you can remember.”
Reeder shared a personal anecdote from when her children were young, and she couldn’t afford a traditional christmas feast.
Instead, they ate meatloaf.
It was just her and her two boys, because she wasn’t willing to share her need with anyone.
“They don’t regret that,” she said. “They still talk about the fun that we had that year.”
But she wanted to give them a better Christmas than she could afford.
Families across the county today are going through similar struggles.
They want to give their children presents. They want to fill their bellies with turkey, stuffing and mashed potatoes.
But many can’t.
Share the Spirit provides Christmas dinners to nearly 800 Rogers County families every year.
Boxes include turkey or ham, rolls, celery, apples, oranges, cake and frosting, mac and cheese, gelatin, instant potatoes, stuffing, green beans, peas, corn, chicken broth and cranberry sauce.
Providing that much food costs quite a bit, but you can help with a financial donation.
Checks can be made payable to ‘Share the Spirit’ and mailed to P.O. Box 248, Claremore, OK, 74018-0248 or delivered in person to the Claremore Daily Progress at 315 W. Will Rogers Blvd.
Families can sign up to receive a dinner at the Rogers County DHS.
And thank you to those who have already sponsored, raising $1,500.
In addition to those who have already been recognized, we would like to thank the Rogers County Oowala Group, Joan and Barney Busby, Gerald and Dianne Dunahay, Sylvia J. Livingston, Dorothy Cummins in memory of Duffy Hoagland, Jams and Anita Still, Carolyn Scarth and Art Goad in honor of Diann and Bobby Goad.