Sharing Christmas as a community

Darrell Cole
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Community Christmas dinner hailed as a success

More than 300 meals were served at the Amherst Community Christmas Dinner on Wednesday.

Rob Porter and Kimberly Cluney work at the Amherst Community Christmas Dinner on Wednesday

AMHERST - Perhaps the biggest crowd ever attended Amherst's Community Christmas Dinner on Wednesday.

More than 300 meals were served during the two-hour event at the Bridge Workshop on Station Street, including meals for those working at the Cumberland Regional Health Care Centre, EHS, fire and police.

"It has gone very well," organizing committee member Betsy Prager said. "It's what Christmas is all about. I don't think anyone left here hungry today."

The dinner was a full-course meal of turkey and all the trimmings as well as cake for dessert. 

Barry Patriquin and a number of other entertainers provided music while a team of more than 50 volunteers looked after everything from greeting participants, to seating and serving them.

"We have such a great team of volunteers. We have some who come back year after year while for others it's their first time," Prager said. "I think once they come once they're hooked and commit to coming back the next year."

Prager said the volunteers did a great job setting the workshop up for the event. Another group stayed up all night Christmas Eve cooking the turkeys at Bambino's Pizza and preparing the pototoes, carrots and other trimmings.

This was Beth Nuttall's first year working as a volunteer.

"It's been fabulous, an amazing experience and a great way to spend a few hours on Christmas," said Nuttall, who owns Your Place Fitness Salon. "A few of us were talking at the gym the other day about helping out. I'm glad we did. We'll be back next year for sure."

It was Karen Donachie's second time. She said giving up a few hours between family gatherings is well worth it. She said the response from those attending the dinner was very complimentary.

"Sharing is the true meaning of Christmas and there's a lot of fellowship here today," Donachie said.

Prager said the committee worked hard to get word out about the dinner and wanted to make sure the dinner was open to anyone who wanted to attend.

"The dinner is for everyone in the community. We know it's popular among seniors and others who are alone at Christmas, but we saw a few families here as well," she said. "It's a way for the community as a whole to come togther and celebrate Christmas."

Prager said none of it would have been possible without the continued support of sponsors, who provided money and products.

Organizations: Bridge Workshop, Cumberland Regional Health Care Centre

Geographic location: AMHERST

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