This Sunday will be a final "checking it twice" for just about everything.

The Christmas Day tradition began in 1987. Liquor store owner Jay Watters said there was more to Christmas then a just a free meal. There should be a holiday atmosphere. He put the welcome mat our for anyone and everyone — singles, couples, families, local residents or travelers — who for whatever reason might be facing a not-so-merry Christmas day.

The founder died suddenly in January 1998 after that first dinner served about 150. Ever since, community volunteers, who have come to be known as "Jay's Elves," have transformed Watters' belief into community tradition.

Everything about Jay's Dinner -- food, food preparations, entertainment, serving, decoration, cleanup--comes by donation from the community. The free-to-everyone with all-the-trimmings Christmas Day dinner and party with nonstop musical entertainment will again be at the La Junta Knights of Columbus Hall from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Christmas Day.

Immediate concerns of Elf Central:

1. Pies, cookies, or cakes. Some sugar-free deserts are needed. They can be delivered to the Knights of Columbus Hall, either Christmas Eve between 12 noon and 4 p.m. or Christmas morning.

2. Volunteers are still needed who can be available for at least an hour or two on Christmas day. Volunteers are needed to help prepare, for home delivery, meal packers (early like 9 a.m.) greeters, serving line workers, tray carriers (dinner hour 11-2), clean up crew members (unsung heroes after 2 p.m.)

3. Monetary donations fill menu gaps. Collection boxes are being placed in businesses around La Junta. Checks to Jay's Community Christmas Dinner should be sent to: P.O. box 385, La Junta, Co 81050

Jay's Special Delivery Scheduling Elf phone number and an email address have been established. Call 384-4294. The elves are very busy this time of the year so please leave a message and they will call you back or email the group at,