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Service a popular holiday pastime

By Chelsea Hunter
On January 9, 2014

There are opportunities available to serve others during the holiday season, whether it’s a family tradition or helping individuals in passing.

 

A sophomore in business marketing, Tucker Cottrell has been participating in the same service-oriented family tradition his whole life. However, he was on vacation this year and couldn’t contribute.

 

“It’s like the coolest thing ever,” he said. “I was really sad I couldn’t go this year, but I go every other year.”

 

This good deed has been going on for 23 years now and continues to grow. What first started out with a few less-fortunate people, a guitar and a pot of chili has now grown to buses full of people who come to be served.

 

“It first started with my grandparents who felt they should do something extra for Christmas,” Cottrell said. “They felt like they should invite some close friends that were struggling in their church. They had a way fun time and decided to do it every year.”

 

The gathering grows in size every year. Cottrell’s grandparents coordinate with the local homeless shelters to transport people to and from the event. The shelter gets buses to bring these people to his grandparent’s couple 100-acre horse ranch in Farmington.

 

“Last year when I went there was close to 2,000 volunteers and a little over 2,000 homeless,” Cottrell said. “It’s crazy how much it’s grown over the years, what started with a campfire and a guitar to hosting thousands of people.”

 

He said his grandparents have four large garages they turn into Santa’s workshop where kids are given toys donated from places like Deseret Industries. There is also a garage set up in an assembly line where the volunteers help families get toiletries, clothing and other supplies.

 

There is also food and entertainment, including a horse drawn sleigh, Santa Claus, a local marching band, live bands and slow cookers full of soups and stews.

 

“It’s just way neat, because you feel like this is what Christmas is supposed to be, touching as many people as you can possibly touch through an act of service, and the fact that it was started by my family I think gives me that tradition sense and makes it so special,” Cottrell said.12

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