Oroville Eagles giving away toys at Christmas dinner

OROVILLE — There’s a room filled with toys at the Oroville Eagles Aerie 196 hall ready and waiting for Santa to distribute to local children on Christmas day.

The Oroville organization joined the Eagles of Red Bluff for the first time in a Toys for Tots drive this year and outdid themselves with the help of local businesses, private citizens and first responder agencies. The local service organization distributed 350 toys to 175 kids during Saturday’s Parade of Lights but has “hundreds more” leftover and waiting for just the right home.

“The Toys for Tots program has an immediate impact on our community because people are struggling, toys are scarce and products are expensive. We want to make sure every child that comes our way receives a Christmas gift on our behalf,” said Beverly Delucchi, past madam president.

The toys will be distributed during the Eagles annual free community Christmas dinner on Christmas day. The dinner is open to the community from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Eagles hall, 2010 Montgomery St.

“Santa will be there and we have lots and lots of fantastic toys, beautiful gifts for kids 12 and under so we’re encouraging people to come on down with a child and get a toy,” said Delucchi.

The Eagles have been hosting the annual holiday dinner for more than 20 years. Each year the club serves about 500 people a ham or turkey dinner with rolls, a vegetable, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie.

“What makes this so special is that we serve the community. People who don’t want to or can’t cook; people who may be by themselves for the holidays; and, anyone who wants to come and have a great meal with other people. We welcome anybody and everybody in the Oroville community,” said Delucchi.

The Eagles Aerie 196 was founded in 1902 and with 850 members has the largest membership of any Eagles organizations in California. The members cook and serve all the food for the annual dinner.

“We start cooking three days in advance. Members donate and bake at least 40 hams and 40 turkeys. All the food is donated by members or is purchased with donations from local businesses. We received a generous donation from A-1 Appliance this year. The trimmings for the dinner, the side dishes and dessert cost about $2,000,” said Delucchi.

In addition to the toy drive and annual dinner the Eagles donate to high school scholarships, local veterans charities, PAWS of Oroville, Shop with a Cop, the Hope Center and many other local charities.

“It’s very gratifying to be part of this organization. Our slogan is people helping people and that’s what we do help people with our time and money,” said Delucchi.

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