Plans underway for Christmas dinner

A long-standing tradition will continue on Dec. 25 as the Fort Frances Volunteer Bureau has begun planning for its 19th-annual community Christmas dinner.
“We have something different this year and we’re very excited about it,” executive director Denise Audette said Monday afternoon.
Instead of taking place at Knox United Church here, the popular event has been moved to the New Beginning Fellowship (located beside the Lakeview trailer court by La Place Rendez-Vous).
“The decision came after careful consideration. It’s fully wheelchair accessible,” Audette said of the new location.
“We’re still working alongside Knox United Church. They’re always wonderful,” she added. “We’re probably going to be storing food there, but we’re going to try it at the new church.
“It’s a new opportunity for us,” Audette enthused. “When [New Beginnings Fellowship] came to us, we welcomed them with open arms because of the wheelchair accessibility. That’s a big thing for us.
“It’s one more way to make it [the dinner] accessible for everyone.”
Audette said the organizing committee met for the first time on Monday afternoon, and has welcomed Diane Maxey and June Caul on board this year.
“They’re awesome,” she noted, adding the duo will be arranging entertainment for the dinner.
“We’re going to have a full lineup. They’re going to get local talent,” she enthused.
As in past years, the community Christmas dinner is made possible due to both volunteers and donations from local individuals and businesses.
Audette said the committee has looked at what’s been required previously and made a list of food they’ll need.
This includes a dozen 12-pound turkeys, three 10-pound hams, buns, butter, cheese, gravy, frozen veggies, pickles, stuffing, desserts, cabbage (for coleslaw), coffee and tea.
(Potatoes and turnips already are being provided by local farmer John Gerber and family).
Audette noted smaller hams and turkeys won’t be turned away—it’s just that experience has shown that the size and quantities mentioned above will be enough to feed the anticipated number of dinner-goers.
Donors also are welcome to give money so organizers can go out and buy the groceries themselves.
As well, Audette needs volunteers for jobs ranging from decorating and clean-up to cooking, serving food, and delivering “Meals on Wheels.”
Last year’s dinner drew about 300 people and it 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.
That total doesn’t include the dozens of “Meals on Wheels” delivered to local residents that day.
Audette said those who would like a meal delivered to them on Christmas Day should contact the Volunteer Bureau at least a couple days beforehand.
The same goes for anyone who may need a ride to the church.
To make a food or monetary donation, or to volunteer your time, call Audette at 274-9555 or drop by the old CN station Monday through Friday between 9 a.m.-3 p.m.