Christmas dinner all ready to go

Duane Hicks

Thanks to a generous outpouring from local individuals and businesses, the table is set for the Fort Frances Volunteer Bureau’s 23rd-annual community Christmas dinner this Saturday at Knox United Church.
Lead organizer Karen Mitchell said she not only has all the food donations needed, but volunteers to deliver “Meals on Wheels,” cook, serve, and do many other tasks associated with staging the Christmas Day event.
Mitchell has been very busy preparing for the dinner—and will continue to be so right up until Saturday. But she said yesterday her job’s been made easier thanks to the remarkable support from others with donations of food, time, and helping hands.
For example, while she had planned to have turkeys cooked at multiple locations for the dinner, Canada Safeway recently stepped forward and agreed to cook them all on Christmas Eve.
As well, the Gerbers will be donating cabbage and carrots, which La Place Rendez-Vous then will shred up as ingredients for coleslaw.
Fort Frances Jail staff, meanwhile, will be peeling hundreds of potatoes and turnips.
But make no mistake, Mitchell will be busy right up to the end—whether it’s decorating, setting up tables and chairs, or transporting goods to and from the church.
“Christmas Eve, I’ve got to make 75 boxes of stuffing and bring that in with me [from Emo] Christmas morning,” she chuckled.
Mitchell is planning for at least 300 people to attend the dinner, which will run from noon-2 p.m.
She also expects well over 60 “Meals on Wheels” will be prepared to be delivered on Christmas Day to those who can’t make it to the church.
“With the nice weather, we’ll probably have more people, so we’re planning on more food,” Mitchell noted.
As previously reported, Diane Maxey and her Choraliers will provide some musical entertainment during Saturday’s dinner.
There also will be a draw for Christmas gifts (one draw each for a man, woman, boy, and girl).
Meanwhile, Lowey’s Greenhouses will deliver a slew of poinsettias to the dinner, both to place on the tables and to deliver to each person receiving “Meals on Wheels.”
Mitchell reiterated the dinner is free and open to everyone.
The dinner usually draws more than 200 people, seeing a mix of those who might not have family to share the holiday with locally or those who simply want to socialize with fellow citizens on a very special occasion.
In past years, it has drawn people from across the district, with some coming from as far as Atikokan just for the dinner.
It also has been attended by many from even further abroad who are visiting local relatives for Christmas.