By Emily Bialkowski
Straight off the tailwind of serving 355 appreciative folks for Thanksgiving, Elsie’s Bar & Grill is back at it preparing a Christmas dinner for those who don’t have dinner plans, don’t feel like cooking, don’t know anybody or don’t otherwise have the means to enjoy a tasty meal on Christmas Day.
This is the fifth time restaurant owner Elsie Rud has opened her establishment for Christmas dinner where nothing more than a free-will offering is taken up to help support the cause.
“I guess I keep doing it because I like seeing smiling faces. I don’t want anyone to be sad on the holiday, and this cheers them up. It’s pretty fun and rewarding.”
The undertaking is made less insurmountable by volunteers, donations and home-prepared pastry treats.
However, Rud said she can always use more volunteers in the form of serving, clean-up and to make desserts. “It’s crazy and it’s fun and exciting. We have volunteers age four to 80 and it’s fun to see new faces,” she said.
Naturally, donations are also welcome to offset the expense of putting on such a bountiful meal, which includes turkey, ham, gravy, mashed potatoes, stuffing, vegetable, rolls, dessert and a beverage. Even more appetizing than the menu is the friendly atmosphere.
“It’s a great time to get to know people. There’s a lot of fun socializing with all the newcomers, volunteers and familiar faces,” Rud said. Afterall, the event’s motto is “A merry Christmas is on the menu.”
Those who have enjoyed previous meals have a lot of good things to say about the event. “Thank you for delivering our Thanksgiving dinners. It’s very appreciated. We’ve received dinners from Elsie’s for the past few years and it is always great,” one participant said.
This year’s community Christmas meal is set for Tuesday, Dec. 25 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Elsie’s Bar & Grill, 226 East Main Street, Caledonia. Those who need a ride or wish for delivery need to call 507-725-3313 on Christmas Eve, Dec. 24.