Volunteer Bureau to take on Christmas dinner

Christmas Day can be a lonely time for some but it doesn’t have to be–especially when there’s a whole community gathered together to dine and enjoy the holiday in one place.
A tradition in Fort Frances for more than 10 years, the annual community Christmas dinner once again is slated Dec. 25 from noon to 2:30 p.m. at Knox United Church.
The Christmas dinner is an event when the community comes together to feed those who may not have any other place to go during the holiday.
But what may be the most important thing about the meal is the number of people it brings together. More than 160 people turned out for last year’s dinner, with another 55 meals delivered through the “Meal on Wheels” program.
Joan Pearson, executive director of the local Volunteer Bureau, has taken on the task of organizing this year’s dinner since Dodie DeBenedet, who had been involved with it since its beginnings, decided to step down last month.
“I came home from Toronto and saw in [the Times] that the dinner needed a new organizer,” said Pearson. “I thought she would have been flooded with calls but only one other man called besides me.
“I think it’s a wonderful, worthy cause for the community,” she added.
All the food for the dinner, such as hams and turkeys, is donated by residents of Fort Frances. It is then cooked and served by volunteers from the community–an idea Pearson thought to be “wonderful.”
Meals are prepared earlier on in the day by some volunteers while others show up to do some last-minute tasks like serving.
Finding volunteers shouldn’t be a problem for Pearson.
“Dodie has quite a few people ready to volunteer already,” she noted, who also happens to know a lot of helping hands herself in her position at the Volunteer Bureau.
Those who do help out with the dinner also are welcome to stay to eat, and socialize.
Anyone wishing to volunteer in the cooking or serving of food at the dinner, or who would like to donate in any other way, is welcome to contact Pearson at the Volunteer Bureau (274-9555).
Or you can attend a meeting slated Sunday, Nov. 22 at 2 p.m. at 613 Second St. E.