St. Joseph’s Catholic Church will be a welcome place for anyone to enjoy a free holiday feast on Christmas Day.
“It’s the 27th annual dinner, we’ve been putting this on for 27 years now,” said Deacon Dan Ritchie, who coordinates the Christmas dinner with his wife Joan.
“She does more work than me,” he laughed.
For the past several weeks after each Saturday mass and three masses on Sunday, Ritchie and his wife Joan have been signing up volunteers at the church (20676 Fraser Hwy.) to cook turkeys, hams, desserts and all the other fixings that make for a great Christmas dinner.
“By the time we’re done we’ll have somewhere in the vicinity of 17 turkeys and I think six or seven hams and lots of potatoes, and carrots and peas and salads,” he said.
It requires over 100 volunteers to serve the nearly 250 people expected, Ritchie estimated.
“Santa always makes an appearance, and we usually have some music and some laughter,” he said. “If you’re by yourself on a Christmas evening this is the place to come, everybody’s happy.”
Volunteers will return to the church on Christmas Eve with trays of food where they will be wrapped in the kitchen for the chef to oversee its distribution at dinner.
Volunteers contribute more than just time and food towards the dinner.
“I had a fellow call me the other night, his wife has knitted toques and scarves all year long, so they’ve got boxes of these for us,” said Ritchie. “So we’ll be handing these out to all the people that are at the dinner.”
The dinner sees many seniors, homeless people and others from the community that appreciate the company while enjoying a hot meal, he added.
“We get a lot of people that are homeless and a lot of senior citizens that are lonely over Christmas time so they like to come to the dinner,” Ritchie explained.
Those looking to support the Christmas dinner can do so by contributing gift cards to local grocers, so organizers can purchase required food items.
For more information call 604-534-3303 or 604-534-5028.
The dinner will be held on Christmas Day, Dec. 25. Doors will open at 4 p.m. and dinner will be served at 5 p.m.