Idriss Elsayed takes a look at his full lunch plate Dec. 25 during the Community Christmas dinner. There were plates for everyone and more than 100 people attended.

Idriss Elsayed takes a look at his full lunch plate Dec. 25 during the Community Christmas dinner. There were plates for everyone and more than 100 people attended.

Community comes together on Christmas Day

Some people have few places to turn during the holiday season, especially Christmas Day.

Some people have few places to turn during the holiday season, especially Christmas Day.

This season can be one of loneliness for individuals but with a little work from a dedicated group of volunteers, Community Christmas has become a sanctuary for many people.

Held on Christmas Day, the event is a special lunch with ham, turkey, mashed potatoes and more, all put together by Bob and Deb Hepp Catering and a group of helpers. Not only were people’s plates full to the brim but there was a dessert table full of cookies, ice cream and pastries; plus a candy table offered kids fun treats to take away.

If that was not enough, there were game tables, a live band and stuffed toys for kids and folks who wanted to bring some home to their family. Bob Hepp said he spent approximately 20 hours prepping for the lunch. He had enough for 260 people to have at least one plate. “No one sits alone and people appear to enjoy themselves.”

A crew of volunteers each had a task and for some it was just to sit and enjoy the company of others. Hepp said his granddaughter asked him why he would not be able to visit during Community Christmas. This was his reply to her: “It’s Christmas for people that wouldn’t have otherwise.”

“And it helps me lose a few pounds,” he joked.

The Kinsmen Community Centre was full of people with tales of their lives. Just sitting down at one table can tell a person why the Community Christmas is a valuable service.

John and Shirley Kole have been coming for the last five years. With just the two of them at home, cooking a whole turkey would be too much work, said Mrs. Kole. “It’s just nice because otherwise we’d sit at home just the two of us.”

With their family of four kids, 12 grandkids and eight great grandkids busy with holiday plans, Mrs. Kole feels there is no other place she would rather be on Christmas Day.

“It’s the best place in the world,” she stated.

Sitting next to the Koles was Brenda Woodridge and her mother Darlienne Terry. Woodridge’s husband recently passed away and she did not have anywhere else to go. She said she loved her first experience of Community Christmas.

“It’s kind of my first outing into the community,” explained Woodridge.

Leaving home to do most activities has been difficult for her but being at the Christmas Day lunch was a positive step forward, she added. “It’s helping me get back into life.”

Her first goal was to volunteer but Woodridge felt that was too much too soon. So, she knitted items that could be used at the lunch. Woodridge intends to volunteer her time next year.

There were more than 50 volunteers who helped out at the dinner.

 

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