Festival Of Lights This Weekend


Dave and Terry Burkhart embody the spirit of the season in Pine and Strawberry by preparing and serving a free community Thanksgiving dinner, a P/S tradition they started in 2010.

Dave and Terry Burkhart embody the spirit of the season in Pine and Strawberry by preparing and serving a free community Thanksgiving dinner, a P/S tradition they started in 2010. Photo by Joy Hafford. |

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The 4th annual Festival of Lights and Tree Lighting is this weekend at the P/S Community Center. Event hours are noon to 8 p.m. on Saturday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. Be there at dusk Saturday for Christmas carols, the tree lighting, the Jingle Bell Parade, photos with Santa and refreshments. There will be a Kids Kraft Korner, Craft Fair and DJ Craig spinning tunes to bring on the cheer. The P/S Business Community encourages attendees to bring a non-perishable food item for the food bank donation bin.

A holiday tradition

Dave and Terry Burkhart’s generosity embodies the spirit of the season. Thanks to them, a heaping helping of cheer was served up yesterday at the P/S Community Center at the third annual Community Thanksgiving Dinner.

The couple approached the Senior Citizens Affairs Foundation (SCAF) in 2010 offering to provide the food and preparation for a free Thanksgiving dinner if SCAF would donate the use of its dining room and kitchen. For the Burkharts, it was all about serving a home-style holiday meal so no one in the community would have to spend Thanksgiving hungry or alone. SCAF readily agreed to provide the facility at no charge and a holiday tradition was born.

Upon hearing about it, the community rallied. Everyone was invited. Folks came to help. Many came with turkeys and an abundance of food. The meal was great with all the fixings and attendance surpassed expectations.

In 2011, it was repeated with more than 100 dinners served. Everyone pitched in as needed, from serving to clean up. Meals on Wheels were also sent out. The feedback was positive with a rating of outstanding and unanimous vote to keep it going. In fact, it was so well received that on Dec. 25, 2011, it was expanded to include the first free Community Christmas Dinner.

Dave and Terry Burkhart opened their hearts so that every individual, child and family could partake in a bountiful and memorable holiday feast. Whether you are alone, short on cash, or don’t feel like cooking, all are welcome to share Thanksgiving and Christmas Dinner in the dining room at the P/S Community Center with friends and neighbors.

If you would like to attend or help with the 2012 free Community Christmas Dinner call (928) 476-2151 or (928) 476-4633.

SCAF happenings

On Nov. 17 SCAF, which operates the Community Center Thrift Store and Senior Dining Room, sponsored the 13th Annual Tellabration to benefit CERCA and P/S School. Just five days earlier, on Nov. 12 it hosted a Thank You Luncheon for veterans and first responders for Veterans Day. Both events had excellent turnout and brought joy to all who attended. The events display the generosity of SCAF volunteers and the group’s commitment to all residents, from students to seniors, those who serve our country and community and everyone in between. Their efforts enrich the community.

SCAF has a new Web site at www.pinestrawberryscaf.com.

For unique gifts, holiday decorations, dazzling evening wear and more, visit the thrift shop from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Wednesday through Saturday. For donation pickups, call (928) 476-4633. SCAF wishes everyone a happy holiday season.

What are you thankful for?

Thanksgiving is a time to count our blessings. Bill and Jan Armbruster have an abundance of them.

“We are thankful for each other and 33 years happily married. We have a wonderful grown daughter and a very handsome son, a very special and beautiful daughter-in-law who loves us, four beautiful, healthy and happy grandchildren, and six active little great-grandchildren. They are all in Scottsdale, Gilbert and Chandler, so we get to see them very often. Ours is a loving and close family and we get to spend the holidays together! What more can we ask?”

Steve and Tamara Morken of THAT Brewery and Pub expressed thanks for our wonderful community. “Every day we are blessed by the numerous times we encounter the giving spirit that is Pine and Strawberry. Our business is also touched by so many and each day we are reminded of what a great community we live in with the strong show of local support.”

Helen Carroll and Eric Keller also express heartfelt gratitude for support from the community. I met the two retired teachers enjoying lunch in the Community Dining Room and asked what they are thankful for this Thanksgiving. Helen, age 93, has outlived most of her family members and doesn’t know where she would be without SCAF. “I’m grateful for what goes on here as I couldn’t get to the store,” she said, pointing to a container of food. “The meal portions are large enough that I can take home leftovers for soup or another meal.” She went on to say, “Everyone here is concerned and helpful.”

“This place means a lot to me,” said Eric, echoing Helen’s sentiment of gratitude for a daily nutritious meal in a dining room where seniors can talk and laugh with others. “Every day I’m grateful to be grateful,” he said — a saying a friend shared with him that he has adopted.

Finally, I am thankful for my husband, Richard, because without him this column would never get done! While I am chasing down events or glued to the computer he does laundry, waters plants, dusts and vacuums. The truth is he does much of the cleaning in our home. We make a great team and I am very thankful for him in my life.

This would not be complete if I did not thank all of you. You help make this column what it is. Thank you for coming back each and every Friday and supporting the events that make our town great. Happy Thanksgiving to you all. Please send events to haffordjoy1@gmail.com.

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