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Volunteers assemble more than 500 food boxes for families in need during Dallas Christmas Cheer’s drive-through event on Dec. 16, 2020.

Itemizer-Observer

DALLAS — The good news is Dallas Christmas Cheer was able to serve more than 500 families last year even amidst the pandemic.

The bad news is due to a lockdown on the rest of their activities, organizers had to pay for the annual event out of their own pockets.

To make up for the 2020 shortfall, the non-profit organization presents Benedetto Vineyards first ever Christmas Cheer BBQ from 3 to 6 p.m. on June 12.

Sue Lamb, Dallas Christmas Cheer secretary and treasurer, said they really haven’t set a goal for how much they hope to bring in during the fundraiser.

“We’ve never really done anything like this before,” Lamb said. “We don’t even know how to set a goal.”

Tickets are $75 apiece and are first-come, first serve, as there are only 75 available, the vineyard’s event capacity. Lamb promises an enjoyable afternoon of amazing barbecue food, fun games to win prizes and a silent auction.

The ticket includes admission for one, a complimentary glass of wine or beer, a barbecue dinner, which includes Texas-style brisket and Kansas City pulled pork, with cowboy beans, Parker rolls and something sweet. In addition, guests get a custom wine glass to keep.

Lamb said the idea for the event was literally born over a glass of wine.

“The winery heard about us. As soon as owners Nick and Lisa (Marshall) knew about Dallas Christmas Cheer, they told us ‘We want to partner with you,’” Lamb said. “They really care about community, too.”

Dallas Christmas Cheer has been providing a holiday food boxes for anyone who applies, no questions asked, for more than 60 years, Lamb said.

“Anybody that applies gets help. There’s no threshold and we’re out of the business of screening for need,” Lamb said. “It’s a much healthier way to do it, because we don’t end up shaming families.”

Lamb said her father-in-law began the organization out of the Dallas Fire Department. Her husband Warren, who is current chairman of Dallas Christmas Cheer, grew up in the organization from age 10.

“So that’s at least 55 years. We’re just a long-standing, very wonderful program helping families in need,” she added.

She explains that it takes about $5,000 to fill the more than 500 gift baskets. But the coronavirus pandemic required them to make several adjustments to their holiday program. Rather than making hand-deliveries to everyone that signed up, Dallas Christmas Cheer instead hosted a drive-through event at the Polk County Fairgrounds.

One of their other major events to offset costs was canceled last year due to the pandemic — the Glow Run, a nighttime fun run usually in October. Lamb said they asked regular supporters to send in their typical registration fees as a cash donation instead.

“We have many gracious, amazing long-time supporters,” Lamb said. “We would sure love those faithful supporters to come out and enjoy an afternoon with us.”

What to Know

What: Christmas Cheer BBQ

When: 3 to 6 p.m. June 12

Where: Benedetto Vineyards, 14020 Orchard Knob Road

Tickets: $75. Purchase tickets online at https://bit.ly/2RXgi1w

Learn more: www.dallascc.org.

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