Tom Lam, left, and his family and staff pose for a photo.
(Photo submitted)

Tom Lam, left, and his family and staff pose for a photo. (Photo submitted)

Old Iron Horse spreads holiday cheer with 150 free Christmas meals

By Chevi Rabbit

For Ponoka News

Old Iron Horse Restaurant and Lounge owner Tom Lam and his staff have spent countless hours signing up those in need for a meal on Christmas Day. The meals are completely free regardless of households, family or economic situations.

Residents were able to contact the restaurant until Monday, Dec. 21 to register. Recipients can either pick up their meals or have them delivered.

Ponoka town council members and their families have signed up to volunteer their time on Christmas Day and will be delivering a hot meal to 150 residents of Ponoka. Ponoka Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) have also generously donated food containers to the restaurant.

Town communications manager Sandra Smith said, “The Christmas Dinner is entirely an initiative by Tom Lam and the Old Iron Horse Restaurant. The town is very appreciative of the great generosity of Mr. Lam and his staff in providing this wonderful service to our community, and spreading Christmas cheer and a hot meal to those in need.”

Lam said, “It is such a unique partnership when organizations come together to get so much done and help so many people in times of need. Our community spirit and the spirit of giving are alive and strong.”

Recipients can expect gourmet hot turkey meals when they receive them. Everything is prepared and made in-house by Lam and his staff.

The Old Iron Horse will open its doors from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Christmas Day for meal pick up and delivery. Recipients are asked to wear masks before entering the building and sanitize their hands before receiving their meals.

“The response for our Christmas Community Dinner has been phenomenal. We have fielded calls from Ontario and British Columbia to sign up for their loved ones living in Ponoka. The demographics of the recipients are diverse,” said Lam.

“We have seniors, visible minorities, new residents, and families just have fallen on hard times. We are well on our way to providing more than 150 meals to 100 families in need. 2020 has been a turbulent year for most families.”

The Lam family and the Old Iron Horse staff say they are blessed to be in a position to help and give to so many this Christmas and hope to continue this tradition in the years to come.

Lam and his staff also want to express their gratitude to those who have donated anonymously as well as to all the members of Ponoka’s town council and administration and Ponoka FCSS for their commitment to build our community and serve our citizens.