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

Baby, it’s nasty outside: wind and rain will continue across Vancouver Island

Police warn drivers and pedestrians to use precaution during expected rain and winds

Donation helps North Island College trades students

NIC receives $38,000 equipment donation from Seymour Pacific Developments Ltd

See the Heart of Winter at Port Alberni gallery

Group exhibit runs at DRAW Gallery until February

Future of McLean Mill in question after log pond incident

$200,000 allocated to dam repairs, water quality testing at national historic site

Enjoy a night of laughter at the Capitol Theatre

Outsiders Comedy Night is a fundraiser for STAGES Youth Theatre

Omar Khadr wants changes to bail conditions

‘My life is held in suspension’, says the former Guantanamo Bay detainee

High streamflow advisory in effect across the Island

River Forecast Centre issues advisory as Pacific storms batter the coast

Trapped Vancouver Island crash survivor celebrates second chance at life

“Life is good now. It’s good to be alive.”

Lions announce seven members of coaching staff not coming back for 2019

The operational moves come two days after the Lions announced DeVone Claybrooks as the team’s new head coach

VIDEO: Kitten rescued from under school bus in Duncan

School staff have affectionately called kitten “Axle”

$12K awarded to atheist family who oppose Christmas, Hanukkah in B.C. classroom

Gary Mangel,May Yasue said holidays, Remembrance Day and Valentine’s Day not appropriate in preschool

Coach accused of sexual assault says apology letter was misinterpreted

Dave Brubaker has pleaded not guilty to one count of sexual assault and one count of invitation to sexual touching

Give the gift of nature this holiday season

Please don’t be mad, but I bought you a moose

Aboriginal poet faces backlash for calling out NHL-themed totem poles

Rebecca Thomas says she received backlash for asking a drugstore chain to remove NHL merchandise

Most Read