Chris McKinnon, News 9
OKLAHOMA CITY – Preparations for the annual Red Andrews Christmas Dinner were underway Saturday so volunteers would be ready for thousands of families looking for a hot meal on Christmas Day.
Red Andrews started the tradition 60 years ago. His grand-nephew, Bob McCord, took over the duties from his mother about a decade ago. The dinner would not be possible without the generosity of Oklahomans.
This year has been different for the event. Costs rose by about $3,000 compared to last year and organizers blamed a tough economy on the decreased number of donations that came in this year. For McCord, though, the show must go on.
"It has to happen," he said. "I mean, and it does. It's one of those deals when, you know, you tell them you're going to do it, you do it."
Bob McCord, his family and dozens of volunteers set up chairs on Christmas Eve before families in need even showed up and sat down for Christmas dinner.
"When we're talking about 6,000 people, it sounds to me like it's pretty important," explained McCord. "They always come out no matter what the weather."
They were preparing on Saturday for more than six hours of service on Christmas Day. Hundreds of volunteers will make sure thousands of families have a hot meal to celebrate the holiday. Many of them come year after year, according to McCord.
"I can walk up that hallway and just almost pick out everybody that's been there every year. It's like we're old friends, you know. It's a great feeling."
It's that feeling, McCord said, that keeps he and his family going. McCord stood proudly Saturday evening that this six-decade old family tradition continued this year. He said it's all dependent on the giving spirit of Oklahomans.
"As long as they'll donate and as long as we have the money and the means, we're gonna do it," he said. "I wouldn't know what else to do on Christmas Day!"
Saturday his team was in the process of cooking 2,000 pounds of turkey and about 3,000 pounds of green beans and potatoes. They also stacked thousand of toys for the kids so they can have something this Christmas.