Communitas Supportive Care Society in Abbotsford is accepting donations for its annual Christmas Day dinner.
The event is a decades-old tradition. The day is organized by Justina Penner, the organization’s chief human resources officer, and Annette Borrows, a former Communitas employee.
Dozens of volunteers prepare a full ham dinner; set the tables with linens, real dishes and cutlery; and entertain guests with games, stories and songs.
Every effort is made to help guests feel that they’ve come to have dinner at their family home.
“For some of the people we serve, Christmas is a hard time and this dinner is the only family experience they will have,” Penner says.
It is for this reason that this dinner is served right on Christmas Day. About 40 people attend each year, not including volunteers.
For many of these volunteers, the dinner has become a holiday tradition and they can’t imagine their Christmas any other way.
Michael Linburg has been attending the Christmas Day dinner for 12 years. He enjoys the food and gifts but it’s the company he enjoys the most.
“I don’t have any family to celebrate Christmas Day with, so coming to this dinner means I’m not alone on Christmas Day,” he says. “It always makes me happy.”
Sue Browning, manager of the Starbucks at Sevenoaks, and some of her staff have participated in the dinner for the last couple of years.
She says that each Starbucks coffee shop strives to be active in their community and they take the call to be good neighbours very seriously.
“The Christmas dinner at Communitas is very special to all of us and we are honoured to be invited to attend,” she says.
Games are a big part of the evening and everyone who plays is guaranteed a prize.
Each person who comes to the dinner also goes home with a gift.
A generous gift from James and Vanessa Epp of Fraserway RV helps to cover the cost of Christmas dinner.
The game prizes and gifts are all donated by individuals, many of them Communitas staff.
Those wishing to contribute to the event can do so by visiting CommunitasCare.com/donate and designating their gift for Christmas Day dinner.