From left

Serving up Christmas

Annual Christmas Dinner With Friends takes place Christmas Day

You don’t have to be alone this Christmas.

That’s the message a group of local philanthropists want to spread this holiday season.

Radiant Life Church, with the help of Campbell River Baptist Church, the Salvation Army, Save-On-Foods and a host of volunteers, is hosting the 16th annual Christmas Dinner With Friends.

The dinner takes place on Christmas Day, Dec. 25, at the Community Centre from 1 to 3 p.m. Doors open at noon.

Brenda Beaton, volunteer co-ordinator for the dinner, said the gathering is for everyone.

“Anybody who’s going to be alone for Christmas and doesn’t want to be alone,” is welcome, Beaton says.

Radiant Life Pastor Art Van Holst says the dinner “is not just for the homeless” and that there will be gifts for the kids who come to eat, courtesy of Canadian Tire and Dairy Queen.

The dinner, which last year fed roughly 300 people, is a large undertaking that Van Holst says wouldn’t be possible without the support of Save-On-Foods which donates all of the food for the meal that consists of a full turkey dinner complete with stuffing, vegetables and pumpkin pie for dessert.

Bruce Brown, Campbell River’s Save-On-Foods store manager, said the dinner is a way for the store to be “active in the community.

“We’ve had a long 16-year partnership,” Brown says. “It’s a good thing.”

Beaton agrees and says the staff’s support is invaluable.

“It doesn’t go without Save-On’s partnership,” Beaton says.

It also doesn’t happen without the generous support of the 60 to 80 volunteers who on average turn out each year to help serve and assemble the meal.

“We’ve always had a fantastic turn out for volunteers,” says Beaton who encourages anyone who would like to help out at the dinner to register early because volunteer spots fill up quickly. “We even get some people from out of town who are here visiting helping. It’s a good way to help the community.”

Anyone interested in volunteering at the Christmas Dinner With Friends can phone Brenda Beaton at 250-287-9483.

For those who are in need of transportation to the dinner, rides can be arranged by calling Ike Enns at 250-926-0321.