Cooking up Christmas cheer: The Salvation Army hosts annual dinner

On Wednesday Dec.21, the Salvation Army hosted their annual Christmas dinner for those who are less fortunate.

  • Dec. 22, 2011 7:00 a.m.

Martha Cruz and her four children were among the guests at the Salvation Army's annual Christmas dinner that took place on Wednesday



The Abbotsford Salvation Army facility resembled a Christmas workshop on Wednesday afternoon.

Volunteers in red aprons bustled around tables, serving plates to clients during the Sally Ann’s annual Christmas dinner.

Santa and the Abbotsford Heat mascot Hawkey posed for pictures, while the assembly line of kitchen cooks and helpers kept a steady delivery of food to the buffet counter.

Carol music mingled with the Salvation Army’s brass band playing outside to queued clients.

Carved ham, fresh bread, mashed potatoes and cooked vegetables filled plates, while fruit smoothies donated by Snowcrest Foods were handed out along with warm apple and pumpkin pie, garnished with ice cream.

Spokesperson Deb Lowell said organizers prepared food for more than 400 people this December.

Some of those guests are homeless, but the larger number of attendees are simply unable to afford a large dinner at home.

“The last homeless count we had, we counted about 117 people. We serve around 3,500-3,800 clients a month, so there is a huge proportion of those who are needing our services for other reasons.”

Poverty levels have gone up in Abbotsford this year, Lowell said, adding that the Salvation Army put together 520 Christmas hampers this season – the most they’ve ever distributed.

Martha and Ricardo Cruz, who have four children, were among the list of families receiving a hamper this year.

“It will help to put some food on the table for the kids,” said Martha, sitting with her children at the event. Ricardo was at work.

“It’s hard for Christmas time, because you wish you could get money so can buy Christmas presents for the kids. It’s very hard to say ‘No I cannot buy this time because there is no money.’ Even for dinner, you want to have a very special dinner, but no.”

Bouncing her four-month-old daughter Casandra on her knee, the young mom explained that it is nice to take her kids out to eat, since they cannot afford to go to a restaurant.

Her 12-year-old son Cris nodded and smiled. “It’s free,” he said.

Martha’s other two children Eric, 4, and Tiffany, 6, shyly ate their dessert of gingerbread cookies, their eyes lighting up every time Santa walked by.

The jolly fellow was one of many volunteers who pitched in.

Lowell estimated that more than 50 people came to the red and blue building to offer their support.

Mayor Bruce Banman helped prepare for the second dinner sitting at 1 p.m., placing a smoothie at each table setting.

“What this event does, is it shows that there are people out there who care. The Salvation Army has a long history of showing people that they care, and that people need to be treated with respect and a sense of human kindness,” he said.

Just Posted

Pet snake snatched in home robbery

Family devastated, Abbotsford Police Department requesting help from community

Large Sumas Mountain quarry up for sale

Seller says development could follow mine’s eventual closure

RCMP, ERT attending incident at Cheam First Nation

Few details are available about the incident, which saw more than a dozen police cars attend

Abbotsford’s Quilty wins Squamish 50-50

Local trail runner establishes new course record on the weekend

UPDATE: Registered owner of vehicle involved in fatal hit-and-run comes forward

As owner speaks with Abbotsford detectives, police encourage witnesses to come forward

New police force in Surrey must avoid VPD, RCMP errors made in Pickton case: Oppal

Boots are scheduled to be on the ground by spring 2021

Conan turns to the Property Brothers for tips on buying Greenland

Jonathan Scott suggests removing glaciers and mountains to bring in ‘more natural light’

Forests minister visits B.C. town rocked by multiple mill shutdowns

A third of Mackenzie turns out for rally, not much to cheer about

B.C. sockeye returns drop as official calls 2019 ‘extremely challenging’

Federal government says officials are seeing the same thing off Alaska and Washington state

North Van music teacher accused of sexual misconduct involving girls

Police believe other victims could be out there after the arrest of Lamar Victor Alviar

B.C. family stranded in Croatia desperate to come home

Funds being raised to bring back mom and two children

B.C. man on trial for daughters’ murders says an intruder broke in

Andrew Berry takes stand in his defense for December 2017 deaths of young daughters

‘Plenty of time for a deal’: Teachers’ union expects kids back in school on Sept. 3

BCTF says class size, composition at the heart of the issue

Most Read