The ninth annual Community Christmas Dinner will be from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday at the VFW, 2106 Vine. The dinner is donated and prepared by the men of the VFW who give their time Christmas Day to prepare the meal.

The vision of the Community Christmas Dinner began nine years ago. At the time, the Thanksgiving dinner was providing meals for community members on Thanksgiving Day, and it was thought that people likely needed a place to go for a Christmas meal and to be with others.

It also was recognized that Christmas is a busy time of year, and people often can get caught up in the busyness of the season, at times forgetting the true reason for the season of Christmas — the remembrance and celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. From here, the purpose of the Community Christmas Dinner unfolded — to provide a Christmas meal and a place for people to gather to celebrate the birth of Jesus.

The Christmas Dinner also provides the opportunity for community members to serve and be served, and this service extends beyond the walls of the VFW through the delivery of meals and the availability of transportation. The true vision is serving as we are called to do, and to enjoy time with others. As 1 Corinthians 13:8 states, "Love never fails," and this is the foundation of the Community Christmas Dinner. This has been proven true as the dinner has grown in the capacity of those receiving meals, those having meals delivered, and volunteers serving. Last year, nearly 1,000 individuals were served, and approximately 80 individuals volunteered.

The dinner is provided at no cost for those who come, as well as for those whose meals are being delivered. Donations that are received will be given to organizations of need within the community, to give back for all that has been given.

Volunteers are needed at this time, and opportunities to serve will be available on Christmas Day prior to the meal, during the meal and after in cleaning the VFW Hall. Volunteer opportunities can include directing traffic, greeting community members, filling and providing drinks, assisting with carrying plates, clearing tables, delivering meals, washing dishes, cleaning after the event and other miscellaneous tasks that arise.

Desserts for the meal also are provided by community members, and these remain needed at this time.

Additionally, transportation will be provided for those in need by Convenience Cab, which will be donating its time and service on Christmas Day. All calls for transportation will need to contact the numbers provided below. For any community members wanting meal delivery, needing transportation, wishing to volunteer or wishing to provide desserts, contact the Community Christmas Dinner using the following information: (785) 625-5528 through  Thursday or (785) 259-9735 Friday through Sunday. Those interested also can email communitychristmasdinner@gmail.com.