Tannis Laviolette serves Mike Watts at the Uu-a-thluk Taking Care Of Community Dinner on Christmas Day at the Alberni Athletic Hall. SONJA DRINKWATER PHOTO

Community dinner feeds hundreds in Port Alberni

Volunteers pull together to offer meal, friendship for Christmas

More than 300 people gathered at the Alberni Athletic Hall over three hours on Christmas Day to eat a dinner provided by the community. Taking Care Of…Uu-a-thluk Community Dinner was a culmination of determination among a group of volunteers, led by Jeff Cook, Kimmie MacDonald and her sister Val Bellwood, and the food preparation by Brian Calm of The Pizza Factory and his team.

READ ALSO: Port Alberni comes together for community Christmas dinner

The Hupacasath First Nation lent their bus as a free shuttle to bring people to the dinner and home again following the Alberni Valley’s heaviest snowfall of the season.

Fifty meals were delivered to West Coast General Hospital for staff members who worked over Christmas, and there were some police officers and firefighters who dropped into the dinner as well. Calm provided meals to paramedics at the ambulance station beside his restaurant.

More than 25 sponsors and donors, both businesses and individuals, donated cash, food, gifts and in-kind services for everyone, and at least 90 volunteers helped at every step—including decorating the hall, Cook said.

“I really want to give a thank you to the Pizza Factory for cooking everything,” he said. Brian Calm closed the restaurant on Dec. 24 so he and his crew, and volunteers from Little Valley Deli and Bucksnorts could cook 26 turkeys—all donated—as well as all the fixings for Christmas dinner.

“Without him we would have been a little more dysfunctional, having to spread out cooking facilities,” Cook said. “That was an awfully big commitment on his part. I commend him for that.”

Courtenay-Alberni MP Gord Johns attended the dinner before heading to Parksville for a similar event. “This has really given the people a gift of love and hope at a time of the year when it can be very difficult for people who are far away from their families or alone,” he said.

“I am really honoured to be invited to attend and share this meal with others.”

Cook said the core group of volunteers is already discussing whether to hold a community dinner again next year. “The group was really gratified seeing the smiles on people’s faces that were there,” he said. “It makes it a lot easier to say maybe.”

editor@albernivalleynews.com

— With files from Sonja Drinkwater, Alberni Valley News

 

Santa Claus is a popular fellow with the children at the Uu-a-thluk Taking Care Of Community Dinner, Monday afternoon at the Alberni Athletic Hall. SONJA DRINKWATER PHOTO

Just Posted

Port Alberni gets colourful

First-ever 5k Colour Run drew a crowd

Moms of those killed by illicit opioids take to B.C. Legislature in call for action

Moms Stop the Harm, a nationwide network of families who have lost loved ones to overdoses rally

Alberni wrestler heads to University of the Fraser Valley to compete

Ravi Manhas is one of 10 recruits signed to the Cascades for 2018-19

Taxing Vancouver Island

Big Read: find out which communities are paying the lowest and highest taxes on Vancouver Island

VIDEO: Canadian toddler caught practising hockey skills in crib

Eli Graveline is getting praise from far and wide as the internet freaks out of cute throwback video

Rainbow crosswalk in B.C. defaced 10 days after installation

Surrey’s first rainbow crosswalk has been defaced sometime over the weekend

Closing arguments expected in trial for twice convicted Canadian killer

Crown, defence expected to give closing arguments in Millard murder trial

Pigs crash yoga class in B.C.

First it was goats, now it’s pigs — you can get downward dog with the whole farm in Aldergrove

Canadians undertake the world’s most dangerous peacekeeping mission

A dozen Canadian peacekeepers arrive in Mali as yearlong mission begins

U.S. justices won’t hear case of anti-gay marriage florist

The case is regarding whether business owners can refuse on religious grounds to comply with anti-discrimination laws

Kangaroo stops play during Australian soccer match

The women’s game stopped play for more than 30 minutes on Monday due to the kangaroo

Man shot dead in Surrey ID’d as hockey coach and father of two

Murder of Paul Bennett – a respected Peace Arch Hospital worker and ‘champion of sport’ – ‘not random’

Serial killer Robert Pickton transferred to Quebec: victim’s family

Pickton was convicted in December 2007 of six counts of second degree murder

Most Read