For most people, Christmas dinner is a time for family; but for people alone at Christmas, or unable to afford a traditional Christmas meal, that absence of familial chaos can be heartbreaking.
The Old Fashioned Christmas Dinner, slated to take place on Dec. 22 at the Stettler Community Hall, is a dinner meant to help solve this problem.
Stettler residents Gerri McLean and Laurie Quast have, for the past few years, thought about the issue and decided this year to hold a Christmas dinner for people unable to have one – whether it was due to finances or lack of family.
The two Points West employees were joined by colleague Ashley Muhlbach in the project. The trio has partnered with Stettler’s Crisis Aid program to hold the dinner, which is by RSVP. Invitations can be picked up at the FCSS office on Main Street.
“The economy has been so bad the last few years,” McLean said. “We thought this would be a good year to have one of these suppers. A lot of people are out of jobs and can’t afford to have a good Christmas.”
Community groups and businesses have rallied along, according to the ladies who proposed this idea.
The meal, which is a traditional Christmas meal of turkey, mashed potatoes, various sides and desserts, will also have presents for the children coming to have dinner, thanks to the generosity of local businesses, Quast said.
It isn’t a buffet dinner; it’s a sit-down affair where dinner-goers will be served by volunteers.
“We know we’re not going to cure the hunger problem,” Quast said. “We don’t know it, but there’s a lot of homeless people out there. We wanted a way to feed them.”
Stettler’s homeless are very low-key; they live out of their vehicles, motor homes, or trailers, or sleep on the couches of friends. But they do exist, the trio said. The dinner targets that demographic, but also those who are alone for various reasons.
“A lot of our seniors who still live in their homes are alone and have no family in the area,” McLean said. “We want them to be able to come out.”
People who have moved to the community and unable to go home to family, or have family come to them, is a third demographic.
Starting from Nov. 23-25, the group is running an online auction called Santa’s Little Helpers, the link to which is available on the group’s Facebook page. The money raised through the auction will help cover the costs of the meal.
“We’ve had an amazing response from the community,” Muhlbach said. “Everybody wants to help – to volunteer or donate.”
It has been a dream come true for them, added McLean.