President Uchtdorf Helps Serve Homeless a Christmas Day Dinner

Contributed By Katie McKellar, Church News contributor

  • 30 December 2015

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, serves at the annual Christmas dinner at Catholic Community Services of Utah’s St. Vincent de Paul Dining Hall in Salt Lake City on Friday, December 25, 2015.  Photo by Laura Seitz, Deseret News.

Article Highlights

  • President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, and his wife, Sister Harriet Uchtdorf, were among those who volunteered to feed the homeless of Salt Lake City on Christmas Day.

“If we can help a little bit here to spread a little warmth and the great feeling of Christmas, that’s perfect. But every one of us has to reach out and try to help wherever we can. There are a lot of needs in the world.” —President Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the First Presidency

Nearly 1,000 homeless and low-income people lined up at the St. Vincent de Paul Dining Hall on Christmas night to enjoy a warm Christmas dinner.

For some, including Richard Greenlaw, it would be the best meal they’ve had all year.

“I’m overwhelmed,” said the man, who is homeless. “I’m tremendously grateful. This really makes you realize how we can be to each other.”

This is the 15th year volunteers at Catholic Community Services have hosted the annual Christmas dinner, with steak, potatoes, and rolls donated by the Church, as well as pie, hot chocolate, coffee, and other sides donated by the Grand America Hotel.

Piles of clothing—coats, sweaters, hats, socks, mittens—and even toys were handed out after patrons finished their meals.

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, was among those who volunteered for the dinner, busing plates back and forth in the crowded dining hall. President Uchtdorf said he and his wife, Harriet, volunteer at the dining hall multiple times throughout the year.

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, chats with Victor Deleon and Shellie Stembridge at the annual Christmas dinner at Catholic Community Services of Utah’s St. Vincent de Paul Dining Hall in Salt Lake City on Friday, December 25, 2015. Photo by Laura Seitz, Deseret News.

“We just wanted to spend the day with these wonderful people,” he said. “Sometimes it’s even a smile that feeds more than a steak.”

President Uchtdorf added that it’s important to help those in need all year long, not just on Christmas.

Tani Downing serves diners at the annual Christmas dinner at Catholic Community Services of Utah’s St. Vincent de Paul Dining Hall in Salt Lake City on Friday, December 25, 2015. Photo by Laura Seitz, Deseret News.

“If we can help a little bit here to spread a little warmth and the great feeling of Christmas, that’s perfect,” he said. “But every one of us has to reach out and try to help wherever we can. There are a lot of needs in the world.”

Pamela Atkinson, dinner organizer and a longtime advocate for people experiencing homelessness, said more than 800 volunteers showed up to help this year—so many that some had to be turned away.

“More and more people come out every year. To many of us, this is the greatest gift we can give on Christmas Day,” she said.

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, chats with a guest at the annual Christmas dinner at Catholic Community Services of Utah’s St. Vincent de Paul Dining Hall in Salt Lake City on Friday, December 25, 2015. Photo by Laura Seitz, Deseret News.