Port Alberni’s biennial Community Christmas Dinner will look a bit different this year.
Instead of a sit-down meal at the Alberni Athletic Hall, with buffet-style service, Santa Claus and Christmas gifts, meals will be individually packaged and handed out with the Salvation Army’s emergency response mobile kitchen. Volunteers have handed out close to 85,000 hot meals since March, but this one on Sunday, Dec. 20 will be more festive.
Volunteers and staff with Port Alberni’s COVID-19 response team are well versed in delivering meals this way.
“At Thanksgiving we were able to provide over 400 meals and for Christmas we want to provide at least 600,” Bread of Life chair Colin Minions said.
“Our goal is 800 (meals). We’re going to have 600 to hand out off the truck and an additional 200-plus will be hand-delivered with hampers that week—which is generally for people that can’t get to the truck.”
Minions has set up a Port Alberni Community Christmas Dinner fundraiser on Facebook to raise $7,500 for the dinner. Donations are handled through PayPal Giving Fund Canada and will go to Bread of Life Centre, a registered charity. The money will be used for the purchase, preparation and delivery of food.
“Over the holiday season we’ll be handing out meals seven days a week,” Minions said. The Dec. 20 meal is special, however. Staff and volunteers will be offering a mix of turkey and ham with trimmings; all the meals will be packaged individually by volunteers.
All Christmas dinners will be handed out from the Salvation Army food truck on the evening of Dec. 20. Volunteers will stock the truck with meal packages at the Alberni Athletic Hall then stop at Bread of Life at 4 p.m., Quality Foods at 4;30 p.m., the bottle depot at Fourth Avenue near Bute Street at 5 p.m. and Buy-Low Foods at 5:30 p.m. People may also pick up meals directly at the Athletic Hall at 4 p.m. with a drive-thru service. Anyone needing a meal can come and pick one up at the food truck, no pre-registration is necessary.
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