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Thousands of Metro Families Attend Red Andrews Christmas Dinner

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More than 2,000 families attended the annual Red Andrews Christmas Dinner in downtown Oklahoma City. More than 2,000 families attended the annual Red Andrews Christmas Dinner in downtown Oklahoma City.
Guests were served a traditional holiday dinner, including dessert. Guests were served a traditional holiday dinner, including dessert.
Each child was allowed to select toys to take home. Each child was allowed to select toys to take home.
Children also had their pictures taken with Santa at the dinner. Children also had their pictures taken with Santa at the dinner.
OKLAHOMA CITY -

A winter storm and some organizational obstacles weren't enough to stop a longtime Christmas tradition here in Oklahoma City.

The Red Andrews Christmas Dinner fed more than 2,000 families in downtown Oklahoma City on Tuesday. Attendees braved the snow and cold for a hot, holiday dinner.

Volunteers worked all night preparing the food that kept metro families in need from going hungry.

"We thought it was an awesome idea. We love to give. We've been trained to give all our lives," volunteer Ana Sharp said.

The wintry weather didn't stop the Sharp family from giving their time to volunteer.

"I pulled out the truck, warmed it up, put on the snow tires, chained up the reindeer and headed down here," Bobby Sharp said.

But this tradition faced more obstacles than just a winter storm. The annual dinner was saved in the eleventh hour after being canceled last month. The previous organizer, Bob McCord, said he could no longer lead the event due to health problems of his own, and within his family.

11/9/2012 Related Story: Ill Health Forces Family To Cancel Red Andrews Christmas Dinner In OKC

That's when community leaders stepped in to restructure, forming the Red Andrews Christmas Dinner Foundation. It's now a non-profit organization.

11/14/2012 Related Story: Non-Profit Created To Save Red Andrews Christmas Dinner

"I think [it's] just the need to belong to the community and do something worthwhile on Christmas Day," volunteer Kristen Ritchie said.

Keeping the tradition alive also means the world to families who need a little extra help this time of year.

Matt Evans attended with his 1-year-old daughter, Alissa.

"It means a lot because I didn't know what I was going to do with her today and it's Christmas," said Evans. "I wanted to do something. It means a lot to us."

Every child took home toys donated by local businesses over the past few weeks.

The Red Andrews Christmas Dinner has been a tradition here in Oklahoma City now for more than 65 years.

The dinner is named for former state representative Red Andrews, who started the dinner in the 1920s.

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