Grand County residents gather for the Community Christmas Dinner. [Courtesy photo / WabiSabi]

WabiSabi welcomes one and all to the Community Christmas Dinner to be held from 2 to 5 p.m., Wednesday, Christmas Day at the Grand Center.

This is the eighth year WabiSabi has offered the free or by-donation Christmas meal. This year Kaye Davis of Moonflower Market and Kara Stoner will be making the meal. Peace Tree Juice Cafe will offering their kitchen to the chefs for the entire week proceeding the meal to prepare.

“We’re so lucky this year,” Davis said. “Normally some of the chefs have to piece it out from one kitchen to another. We get to use just one kitchen.”

Karen Whipple, the owner of Peace Tree, said that her restaurant has always been glad to donate cheesecakes to WabiSabi’s Thanksgiving meal, “but it’s an amazing feeling to be able to step up and provide the kitchen this year. We see it as a great opportunity to give back to a community that gives to us all year long.”

Red Cliffs Lodge has traditionally prepared the meal, but this year they have offered to cover the meal’s budget, instead. The dinner is offered to the community free of charge; however, monetary donations are gratefully accepted.

The Christmas meal represents a unique union between various businesses, organizations, and individuals in the Moab area who believe in a common cause.

“We’re doing this simply because feeding our community is important” Davis said.

A broad cross-section of the community attends the WabiSabi Winter Meals each year, from schoolteachers and business owners to the unemployed and homeless.

Last year 500 meals were served on Christmas day, including delivery to those that are homebound.

“And while all appreciate the free meal, the goal of the program pertains more to building the bonds of community than helping people through lean economic times,” said WabiSabi program manager Mandy Turner.

The event is made possible with the work of over 100 volunteers who help to cook, serve, clean, decorate and coordinate for the annual meal.

The Christmas meal is the one of WabiSabi’s Winter Meals. Beginning Jan. 19, there will be six weeks worth of Sunday brunches held at the Youth Garden Project.

“We live in such a generous and supportive community, and it’s great to harness that good energy and share it with everyone,” said Holly Dinsmore, WabiSabi’s Warehouse Manager and organizer of the WabiSabi Winter Meals. “This is a tough time for everyone, and whatever we can do to help people out, we want to do it. We don’t want to see anyone spend the holidays alone.”

Turner said that of all the programs run by WabiSabi, the Winter Meals are distinctive “because of the level of community participation across all lines. It’s not often that you get to interact with so many different members of the community while also eating a delicious meal.”

WabiSabi is unable to accept food donations from individuals, and all portions of the meal must be prepared in a commercial kitchen. However, financial contributions are appreciated, as are gift certificates to local grocery stores.

“It’s amazing to see how many people jump in and help out with these meals,” Dinsmore said. “We are so fortunate to live in a community where everyone wants to get involved and help one another out. It’s truly an expression of the holiday spirit.”

Eighth annual Community Christmas Dinner

“We live in such a generous and supportive community, and it’s great to harness that good energy and share it with everyone.”

Financial contributions to the event may be mailed to WabiSabi, 1030 S. Bowling Alley Lane, Moab, UT 84532.

When: 2 to 5 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 25

Where: Grand Center, 152 N. 500 West

Cost: Free, donations appreciated