FORT LUPTON, Colo. – The giving spirit was on display in Fort Lupton on Christmas Eve.
A family-owned restaurant, Copper Kettle Kitchen and Catering, provided free Christmas meals to community members.
The restaurant’s owner, Robin LaBarbera, said her son, Francis, came up with the idea and the whole family teamed up to make it happen.
“We decided that, you know, nobody should be hungry at Christmas time,” Robin said. “We need to have everybody who doesn't have a place to be for Christmas.”
Anyone in need of a hot meal or some camaraderie was invited to show up to the restaurant.
Ham, turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing, rolls, green beans, and pumpkin pie were among the items served to guests on Saturday.
Family members helped plan, cook, and serve the dinner.
They also recruited volunteers.
“We started planning about two months ago, but it's been weeks of planning,” said Misty LaBarbera, Robin’s daughter, and a manager at the restaurant. “We had a ton of people saying they were going to be volunteers, but we didn't really know how many people were going to show up, so we didn't say ‘no’ to anybody.”
In addition, the LaBarberas said community members also donated money to buy food and supplies.
Robin's children said their mom loved cooking and always wanted to own a restaurant.
Copper Kettle Kitchen and Catering opened during the pandemic.
“This has been my mom's dream since we were little,” Misty said. “Watching her succeed doing this is priceless.”
Robin said one reason she was so excited about the dinner was it provided her with an opportunity to give back to a community that has given her so much.
“You know, I have five kids. We've had to work really hard to get where we're at and Fort Lupton and the surrounding area has just been awesome,” she said.
As for the community members who showed up to dinner, the LaBarbera family said they hoped everyone felt loved.
"That's what I want them to feel is love," Robin said. "Everybody needs to feel love."