OAKHURST – This is the fifth year of the Oakhurst Outpouring, a free community Christmas feast open to everyone. The dinner celebration is planned for Monday, Dec. 23 from 3 – 7 p.m. at the Oakhurst Community Center, and all are invited to attend or participate by providing food, decorations or both.
Coordinating the grand event this year is Rebecca Kohout, 24, whose family has been working with Outpouring for three years.
Rebecca is third oldest of 14 kids, so she knows what it takes to make big things happen.
“This event is open to everyone,” she confirms. “We invite families, elderly, anyone who would like to spend the evening with the community. People all over the are helping provide the food.”
Dinner includes ham, turkey, stuffing, potatoes, gravy, cranberries, veggies, dessert and other ingredients of fine family-style dining. The home-cooked meal is provided by an all-volunteer culinary force of nature in the form of individuals acting together for a common cause. In 2012, the Outpouring fed 275 people, down by 100 from the year before. Undaunted, and with greater outreach, organizers are planning for over 400 this time around.
“We have a live band, and a few special dances,” continues Rebecca, “we have skits, plus Santa and Mrs. Claus will be there, passing out gifts to the kids.”
With just days to go before the big event, Outpouring is still looking for more people to volunteer in a variety of ways. For those who can cook, teams of six can band together to provide a full meal for 12 people, with one team captain to coordinate the other volunteers. Organizers request that food be delivered early to the Community Center on Monday, hot as needed, and sealed in foil containers, ready to serve.
Alternatively, those with a flair for decorating may wish to sponsor a table by decorating in theme and providing sturdy Chinet paper plates and disposable cutlery, cups and napkins. Inside the Community Center are 24 tables, each seating 16 people. Some enthusiastic table sponsors are including bagged candies or take-home treats for all 16 guests. The theme for decorations is snowmen and candy canes.
As of this writing, organizers are still looking for seven additional teams to contribute food, and have six tables that are in need of sponsorship.
Despite all the preparation that goes into providing a free feast to hundreds of people, Rebecca has no doubt the result is worth the effort.
“We’re watching the community grow even stronger, with people taking the time to make each person know just how special they are. All the months and weekends it takes in preparing for this, and sometimes those moments wondering if it’s all going to come together, it makes it that much more worthwhile when you see the appreciation. My family and I continue to do it because we love how the community comes together to help provide a free evening full of Christmas cheer and love.“
Those who are not part of a six-member team can contribute individually by contacting the coordinators. Anyone interested in participating in the Outpouring is encouraged to contact Rebecca Kohout at (559) 313-9570 or via email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Visit their Facebook page here.