For seventh consecutive year
Amherst's community Christmas dinner is returning for a seventh year.
Shirley Patriquin (from left) and Gloria Dickinson were given a big holiday hug from their friend Jean Surette while enjoying their dessert at last year’s Amherst Community Christmas Dinner at the Bridge Adult Service Centre. The dinner is returning for a seventh year on Dec. 25.
AMHERST – For the seventh consecutive year a group of community volunteers is coming together to make sure no one has to have Christmas dinner alone.
The Amherst Community Christmas Dinner is set for Wednesday, Dec. 25 at the Bridge Workshop from 2 to 4 pm.
“We have been so fortunate over the years to have had such tremendous support from the community and this year is no different,” committee member Betsy Prager said. “We’ve had a lot of donations of food items and money. It all helps make the dinner a success every year.”
Prager said a team of 10 has been planning the event since last year’s Christmas dinner wrapped up, while a group of 40 or so will volunteer their time for several hours on Christmas Day.
Barry Patriquin and Friends will also be hand to entertain those at the dinner.
Prager said the dinner is open to everyone. She said it’s important for people to realize it’s a community dinner, not one just for the poor.
“Being alone at Christmas is a terrible thing and this event is something that would appeal to someone who wants to share Christmas dinner in the companionship of others,” she said. “We’ve had a lot of seniors come out, a lot of couples and even some families. It’s really nice to see some children at the dinner too.”
Prager said she sees a number of people who are alone at Christmas either because of an addiction issue or because they have burned bridges with family and friends.
Prager estimates the dinner will go through about 350 pounds of turkey that will be cooked in the pizza ovens at Bambino’s Pizzeria on Christmas Eve, while Oxford Frozen Foods has donated vegetables, Sobeys is donating hams, Westons has donated bread and Ben’s has donated rolls.
Amherst Insurance has donated plates, utensils and other items.
She said the Amherst Rotary Club has donated $500, the Town of Amherst is giving $250 as are town employees, while IMP is also donating $250.
Prager said the dinner got a boost this year with the purchase of an upright freezer from Ned Douglas at Sears. In previous years, products were stores in freezers all over town. The freezer is used by the bridge workshop during the summer and available to the dinner for storing turkeys prior to the dinner.
The dinner can feed up to 250 people. She said 175 attended last year, while 40 volunteers were fed and another 50 meals were made for police, fire, EHS and hospital employees working on Christmas Day.
Prager said the leftover turkey is also used in turkey stew for the Beacon Café.