Longtime local tradition continues

The Christmas With Friends Luncheon came about 35 years ago when leaders of El Dorado and David Clymer, owner of the El Dorado Times, were discussing how to thank the men of the El Dorado Honor Camp, who performed maintenance duties around the area.
The discussion led to hosting a steak dinner for the inmates, with local men of the community driving buses to transport more than 100 inmates from the Honor Camp to the 4-H Building.  
The tradition was born.
Others from the community pitched in and set up tables and chairs for the event, while others connected a sound system and a keyboard for singing Christmas carols.  Local citizens were quick to jump in and sponsor the event by purchasing Santa’s Helper ticket packages and/or individual tickets.
The 4-H building would fill up to more than 200 people, including politicians, civic leaders, pastors, businessmen, and others.  
Things changed when the North Unit was closed.  It became necessary to host a noon luncheon with approximately 35 inmates in attendance.
Maintenance and other duties are now being done by inmates brought to El Dorado from the Winfield Correctional Facility, five days a week throughout the year.
The luncheon for inmates is free, but members of the community and prison ministry volunteers are asked to purchase meals, which helps fund the event.
The Red Devil chefs will provide the charcoal hamburgers and Central Kansas Prison Ministry will provide the rest of the meal; baked beans, potato salad, chips, dessert and drinks.
Individual:  Meal ticket prices of $7.50 helps fund the event.
Supporters: A donation of $35 will provide two tickets plus recognition on the printed program.
Santa’s Helpers: A donation of $70 will provide four tickets plus recognition on the printed program.
Tickets can be purchased at the Chamber of Commerce office, 201 E. Central, or by mail, Christmas With Friends, PO Box 1279, El Dorado, KS 67042; email: director@ckpm.org, or by phone, 316 733 1537.