Sharing the spirit: Free community Christmas dinner at Silverton Senior Center

December 2017 Posted in Community, Food & Drink

IMG_0082By Nancy Jennings

Christmas is all about togetherness. But not everybody is able to be with their family or relatives during the holidays.

Silverton’s Senior Center and Harry and Karrie Douglas found a solution to introduce neighbors to each other: Team up and host a community Christmas Dinner. Donations from various sources are helping support this family-friendly event.

“We’ve had grants from Judy’s Party, the Homer Davenport Festival and numerous residents and friends,” Harry said. Opening its doors on Christmas Day from 1 to 4 p.m., the center invites all to enjoy a free non-denominational traditional dinner.

The menu will include: turkey, ham, stuffing, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes and gravy, deviled eggs, pickles and olives. Drinks will include coffee, hot chocolate, tea, assorted juices, chocolate milk and water. The Willamette Valley Pie Co. is donating pies
for dessert.

Everyone is encouraged to bring personal side dishes to share – even if they can’t stay to eat.

“If you have a favorite dish that your family enjoys, make some extra and bring it up to us in disposable containers and we’ll put it out for everybody,” Karrie said.

Santa’s elves will be there to help pass out toys.Screen Shot 2017-12-14 at 1.41.29 PM

“Every child that walks through the door will get a gift,” Karrie said. “Heddelf” (Karrie’s alter-ego elf), added: “No one should spend Christmas alone. Christmas isn’t a season – it’s a feeling! We’re the nuttiest bunch of elves this side of the North Pole.”

Entertainment will be provided by Michael Husser, the Scotts Mills musician who is a regular performer at the annual Silverton Sidewalk Shindig.

This is the third free Christmas Dinner the Silverton couple has organized. Originally started at the Oak Street Church, the first gathering saw 28 guests sharing their holiday meal. Last year, the number increased to 68. They needed more room – and the Silverton Senior Center was the ideal location.

“We’ve been growing and we hope to see 100 to 150 this year,” Karrie said, adding that seeing their own large family during the holidays is a challenge due to distance and extra-busy schedules.

Harry, 65, and Karrie, 58, have been married for three years. Between them, they have seven children, 17 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren (with another on the way). Karrie’s family roots run deep in Silverton.

“My family was here in the early 1900s. My grandparents met here back in the 1930s,” she said.

“At Thanksgiving, I volunteer at the Water Mountains Restaurant that serves the free holiday meal the Monday before the actual day,” she said.

Harry is also immersed in the community. “I spend a lot of time on the computer and have four or five different Silverton Facebook groups. I also like following my Fantasy Baseball groups. Civically, I organized the veterans’ entry in the Homer Davenport Parade this year, and I’m on an affordable housing committee,” he said.

For information, contact Karrie Douglas at

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