By Lee Revis
Editor, Valdez Star 

Guess who’s coming to dinner? 600 people…

Ables readies for fourth annual community Christmas dinner


Christmas can be a hectic time of the year.

Gifts for the kids, getting ready for company, remembering everything on that all important Christmas grocery shopping list…

For Karen Ables that holiday grocery list includes 20 turkeys, 20 hams, and 200 pounds of potatoes. And don’t forget the #10 cans of cranberries.

“One case will be enough,” Ables joked when she realized she’d almost forgotten to order them. “I got the Jell-o, I got the bread coming in for the dressing.”

Then there are ingredients for 36 apple pies and 36 pumpkin pies.

Ables said people get full and often don’t eat the dessert.

For the fourth year in a row Ables – a Valdez chef turned businesswoman – is putting the finishing touches on a Christmas dinner for everyone in Valdez. In a town of less than 4000 people, Ables and a cadre of volunteers provide a genuine Christmas feast – with all the trimmings – for over 600 people.

“I expect the same or more this year,” Ables said, “I think people are starting to understand it’s for the community.”

Yep, Ables invites everyone who happens to be in Valdez on Christmas day to have dinner up at the Civic Center. It isn’t a fundraiser, a charity meal or any other gimmick.

“A great way for friends, family and neighbors to come together,” she declared.

They also deliver.

“We try to get everyone that’s working,” she said. And with the help of others who enjoy playing Santa Claus, they try to bring a nice Christmas dinner to those who have to work on Christmas day. The cashier at the Kwik Trip, no problem. Nurses at the hospital, weather service personnel, whoever is on the job. “We deliver to everybody.”

Maurice Barnnett, proprietor of the Barber Shop, is holding a raffle to help pay the tab this year.

“This year it’s not possible for me to foot the whole bill,” she said, though she has paid for the whole in the past.

So why does she do it?

“Nothing I have ever done in my life has felt as good as doing this dinner,” she said,

“I just love it. It’s pretty incredible.”

This year she and her volunteer friends will begin serving up this Yuletide feast at 2 p.m. at the Valdez Civic Center. The doors remain open to all until 4 p.m.

“Bring your family and friends,” she said, “Just be there.”

Oh, and today (Dec. 20) is Karen’s birthday…Be sure to wish her a happy one.

Valdez Star photo

Like the community Christmas tree, the community dinner at the Civic Center is free for ever in Valdez to enjoy.


Reader Comments

AlaskaTuff writes:

Merry Christmas Karen. You have a special gift. God has blessed you with such a warm heart and loving smile. Miss you! Happy New Year Debbe

Grilljunkie writes:

Just one more example of why it is so great to be an AMERICAN.. In these hard times , when someone doesw these kind of things, it is imspiring. You go Karen. You allways were a go-getter. Keep up the good work. and Happy Birthday Dennis Baim.


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