A merry little Christmas dinner

Sidney’s 13th annual Christmas Day dinner a community affair

There’s a local group of volunteers that wants to wish you a Merry Christmas and will be cooking up a storm on December 25th for a very special community meal.

Members of the Peninsula Christmas Dinner Committee are getting ready to host a big meal at the Mary Winspear Centre in Sidney. Spokesperson and registration chairperson Wendy Warshawski says it’s their 13th annual Christmas Day Peninsula community dinner and everyone is invited.

“There are a lot of people who are alone, or don’t have any family,” Warshawski said. “They all have a story to tell and we invite them to Christmas dinner.”

The meal is free to the entire community — especial those who might not be able to get to see family, those who have no family or those otherwise alone at this time of year. The committee is, added Warshawski, collecting donations at the event to keep the dinner running and to give something back to the community.

“We have 35 volunteers on the committee,” she said, “six or seven will be in the kitchen, and the rest will be serving in the main hall or at the front door, greeting people as they come in.”

The committee has also enlisted the help of the Sidney Lions Club, who will be driving people without another means of transportation, to and from the Winspear Centre.

Much of the entire dinner event has come together thanks to the generosity of local businesses, Warshawski said. The three major grocery stores (Thrifty Foods, Safeway and Fairway Market) have donated the turkeys and vegetables. Breadstuffs Bakery of Brentwood Bay is making the desserts. Mary Winspear Centre has donated the space for the event.

Cooking all of the wonderful food begins the day before, said Warshawski. Clara Knight will be joined by chef John MacKelson in de-boning the turkeys. They cook faster and taste better that way, she added. Committee volunteers will be in the kitchen by 6 a.m. on Dec. 25, making sure everything is ready to be served.

Christmas dinner with all the trimmings will be served at two sittings: 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. and meals will be served until 2 p.m. Warshawski said they expect some 200 people to attend.

“The dinner itself is for anyone who is in need of some fellowship or company at Christmas.”

There will be entertainment — the Sunshine Singers, Dan Rowbottom and the Flying Fish, Without a Net, and of course Santa Claus will make an appearance, gifts and all.

To register in advance for the Christmas Day community dinner, call 250-656-7678 prior to Dec. 20. Be sure to let them know if you need a ride to and from the Winspear Centre.

Anyone wishing to make a donation to the committee’s efforts to keep the event running can do so at the Scotia Bank on Beacon Avenue or at the dinner.