As the weather outside turns frightful, there’s an annual event inside the Mary Winspear Centre that’s delightful for people who cannot be with family or friends at Christmas.
A jolly collection of volunteers on the Saanich Peninsula are getting ready to host the annual Christmas Day Community Dinner.
Reservations for the by-donation dinner are being taken as of November 24 — but according to one of the volunteers, Isobel Yoxall, people started calling on the first day of the month.
The volunteer group works closely with three grocery stores on the Peninsula, Thrifty Foods, Save-On-Foods and Fairway Market. The stores can continued to be very generous with the event, making sure they have the meals ready to go on December 25.
It’s the 18th year for the Christmas dinner event. It was started in 2000 by April Andrews, Debbie Seeboth and Jeanette Hughes and the idea is to provide a meal and companionship to seniors and others who are alone on Christmas day. Yoxall said last year’s dinner saw around 250 people over two sittings.
Once again, leading the cooking team, is volunteer Clara Knight. She said there will be 12 or 13 turkeys — at 20 pounds or more each — as well as stuffing and all the fixings. She said she’s managed to get two sets of plates and cutlery this year — from the Saanich Fairgrounds and from the Friendship Community Church — so there’s not mad scramble to clean dishes during the meal. They organizers, however, still do require a lot of volunteers.
Knight said volunteering at the event has become a tradition for many people, such as the Winkle family. She said four generations of that family turned out last year to serve food, clean and more.
“We all pitch in too,” Knight said.
Volunteer Vern England (who says’s he’s going to play a very big role during the dinner, ho-ho-ho) will be working with the grocery stores to collect the food and make sure Knight and her team have all they need to prepare the dinner in advance.
There are two sittings at 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. For reservations, call lead organizer Wendy Warshawski at 250-656-7678.