Revelstoke’s annual Community Christmas Dinner has a new team at the helm as it enters its 21st year.
A large committee consisting of Stacie Byrne, Mary Chell, Michelle Cole, Heather Hood, Wally McKeown, Stephanie Melnyk, Lindsay Raftis, Matt Singh and Gary Sulz has come together to take over the affair from Ginger Shoji, who organized the dinner for the first 20 years.
“There’s so much she was doing,” said Cole. “I don’t think she realized how much she did to pull this off.”
Shoji started the Community Christmas Dinner 21 years ago as a place for people who were alone at Christmas to enjoy a meal with others. Over the years, it’s become a tradition for many in the community. It is billed as a “free turkey dinner for the whole community who may wish fellowship on Christmas Day.”
Once again, it’s taking place at the Ol’ Frontier. Owner Matt Singh donates the restaurant and his time on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day to host the event.
The committee first met last January and has been getting things organized steadily since September. It’s been a matter of ordering the food, collection donations, sending out invites and finding out who needs meals delivered.
Each year, about 300 meals are prepared; 100 are delivered to people around the community who can’t make it to the restaurant.
To feed everyone, the committee has 15 turkeys, lots of hams, 140 pounds of potatoes and double the number of carrots and Brussel sprouts as in past years. Shoji has prepared a batch of her trademark cranberry sauce.
The committee gave thanks to the community for its support of the event.
“The reception has been amazing,” said Cole. “We had some really big cash donations this year, which made a huge difference.”
They are expecting about 50 volunteers to come out and help decorate, cook and serve the food, and deliver meals around town. Many of the volunteers have been helping out for a long time.
“We really appreciate those sorts of things,” said Sulz. “That’s what makes it continuous with us taking over, is the volunteers that have been there forever.”
The Community Christmas Dinner takes place at the Ol’ Frontier Restaurant on Christmas Day, from 1–3 p.m. If you need a ride, or want to help, call Stacie Byrne at 250-200-0022 or Stephanie Melnyk at 250-837-3432.