Christmas dinner in the works

The Fort Frances Volunteer Bureau’s community Christmas dinner has become an annual tradition here, with well over 200 people showing up for it each Dec. 25.
But such a meal couldn’t happen without donations and fundraising, and that’s why organizers will be working hard in the coming weeks to promote it.
“The planning is going well, except we really do need more turkeys and hams. Those are the big items,” Karen Haney, assistant co-ordinator for the Fort Frances Volunteer Bureau, stressed yesterday afternoon.
“But any food or money is fine,” she added, noting items like coffee, tea, potatoes, and desserts are bought with the money raised if they’re not donated outright.
Haney also said volunteers will be out this Saturday (Dec. 4) selling tags at Canada Safeway, SAAN, and Canadian Tire. The cost is a donation of your choice, with all proceeds going to the dinner.
As a second way to help out with the fundraising for this year’s dinner, Haney noted the Volunteer Bureau is raffling off a cedar chest and a quilt next Friday (Dec. 10) at 3:30 p.m. at the old CN station.
Only 300 tickets have been printed, which cost $5 each. These are now available at local businesses as well as the Volunteer Bureau.
But pulling off the community dinner, which will run from noon-2 p.m. on Christmas Day at Knox United Church, takes more than money and lots of food—it also requires helping hands.
“We still need volunteers,” said Haney, noting there’s never a shortage of tasks for volunteers to do, whether it’s cooking or serving food, setting up or cleaning up, or delivering “Meals on Wheels.”
Last year’s dinner drew almost 300 people and seems to be getting increasingly popular, attracting people who might not have family to share the holiday with as well as those who simply want to socialize with fellow citizens on a very special occasion, said Haney.
As well, close to 80 “Meals on Wheels” were delivered out of the kitchen at Knox United Church and into the homes of local residents last December.
Haney noted those who need a meal delivered to them on Christmas Day should contact the Volunteer Bureau before Dec. 24. The same goes for anyone who may need a ride to get to the church.
Marilyn and David O’Dell, along with Jackie and Gerry Guimond, will provide musical entertainment at the dinner again this year.
To make a donation or to volunteer your time, call Haney or Vanessa Hebert at 274-9555, or drop by the old CN station anytime between 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on Monday through Friday.