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Christian Center seeks holiday donations

Amanda Tust Of the Record staff
Jorge Martinez empties grocery baskets while stocking the shelves of the Christian Center International Food Pantry on Monday morning in Park City. Grayson West/Park Record
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In preparation for the holidays and the arrival of seasonal workers, the Christian Center of Park City has begun stockpiling food, toys, home cookware and furniture.

"On Thanksgiving we do the food, Christmas we do the gifts and in February and March we do the dinners," said Tim Dahlin, executive director of the Christian Center. Thanksgiving food items, including turkeys and pumpkin pies, may be picked up today at the Christian Center International Food Pantry between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. on a first-come-first-serve-basis. The Christian Center food pantry is one of 13 food bank facilities within Summit, Wasatch and Utah counties. It is also the distribution center for Daily Bread, a twice-yearly food collection by the Boy Scouts and the Christian Center. Dahlin said the Christian Center’s food pantry serves approximately 30 local families, or 120 people, per day. Families are limited to two visits per month, but they can leave the pantry with four or five grocery bags each time. The Christian Center International Food Pantry receives regular donations from all of the local grocery stores.

Dahlin said Smith’s donates deli and bakery goods, including 300 pumpkin pies this year for Thanksgiving. Dan’s Foods donates dairy products and deli items and Albertsons donates bakery goods. Wild Oats supplies the food pantry with eggs and produce such as cantaloupes, apples, bananas and potatoes. The Christian Center opened its doors in Park City in January 2000, and two years ago the center expanded its food pantry into an area formerly used as an Internet caf.

"The pantry was a much greater need," Dahlin said.

Between Thanksgiving and Christmas food pantry donation barrels will be set up at Smith’s grocery stores in Park City and Salt Lake City and Jiffy Lube locations in Salt Lake City. Donations may also be brought directly to the food pantry, at 1100 Iron Horse Drive, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. on weekdays.

Dahlin said the food bank always needs pasta, sugar, flour, oil and canned vegetables or fruit. He said the Christian Center and International Food Pantry also need volunteers to sort and organize donated items between the holidays, including food and toys. The Christian Center has begun to collect and sort new and used toys for its annual Christmas toy drive. Last year, the Christian Center collected and distributed 200 gifts. This year, the toys will be given out to local families on Dec. 20. Between now and then, families can come in and fill out forms to request toys for their children.

In addition to the food pantry and toy items, the Christian Center collects a variety of home items for seasonal workers who arrive in town to work at the resorts.

"We are kind of their first stop for mattresses, pillows, pots and pans," Dahlin said.

Skis, boots and poles donated after the ski swaps and blankets and winter clothes are also available. Two months ago, the Christian Center opened a thrift shop to store donated furniture. All thrift shop items are sold at discount prices or are given out free.

"If we get too much we give it away," Dahlin said. The Christian Center will pick up or deliver donated items and supplies tax receipts.

Beginning January 10, the Christian Center will host weekly international dinners every Tuesday night from 6 to 8 p.m. On Tuesdays, 30 volunteers from 10 churches coordinate the weekly meal for 150 to 200 international resort workers visiting from all over the world.

"We try to basically be their home away from home," Dahlin said. Dahlin said The Windy Ridge Caf offers up their ovens on Tuesday nights and sometimes donates bakery items.

The Christian Center of Park City, located at 1100 Iron Horse Drive, has regular hours from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mon-Fri. The thrift shop is also open on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Christian Center and food pantry will be closed on Thursday and Friday for Thanksgiving, and the bookstore and thrift shop will reopen on Saturday. Dahlin said barrels of food are sometimes left out back on the weekends for people in need. For more information call 649-2260.


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