More than 700 volunteers as well as religious, civic, business and community leaders gathered for the St. Nicholas Dinner at St. Paul RiverCentre to celebrate the fourth-century bishop who symbolizes the Christmas spirit.

The annual dinner highlights work by Catholic Charities aimed at eliminating poverty and building a stronger community.

This year, there was another reason to celebrate: the opening of the Dorothy Day Center’s new Higher Ground building, which provides shelter and other services for the needy.