Plans are in motion for a Christmas Day event many local residents look forward to each year.
But while a trio of cooks have come forth to make the meal for the Fort Frances Volunteer Bureau's 31st-annual Christmas dinner set for noon-2 p.m. at Knox United Church here, more helping hands are needed.
“We got three very capable ladies that have stepped forward to man the kitchen this year,” said a relieved Judy Koski of the Volunteer Bureau, adding the volunteer cooks are Sharon Gurski, JoAnne Formanek Gustafson, and Tracy Clarke.
“We're very thankful they stepped forward to keep the tradition going,” noted Koski, who put out a call for cooks last month after longtime head cook Judy Kielczewski informed organizers she wanted a well-deserved break this year.
“It's really nice to see the community has so many willing people,” Koski remarked.
But organizers still are looking for other volunteers to help out on both Dec. 24 and Christmas Day.
On Christmas Eve, for instance, tables need to be set up and prep work done for the meal.
Then on Christmas Day, volunteers are needed for serving food, setting and re-setting the tables, and cleaning up afterwards.
Koski said there's no minimum or maximum amount of time volunteers are asked to work, although those serving up food only are asked to do so for no longer than an hour at a time as they'll be on their feet the whole time.
“We'll probably need 10 volunteers for serving, five per shift,” she noted.
To volunteer, call 274-9555. If no one answers, leave a message.
The Volunteer Bureau also is welcoming donations for the dinner.
The Christmas dinner will get a boost from the annual “Stuff-a-Cruiser” campaign being held this Saturday (Dec. 8) from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at Safeway, The Place, and Walmart here, Cloverleaf Grocery in Emo, and Beaver Mills Market in Rainy River.
A portion of the food collected that day will go to the community dinner, with turkeys, hams, boxes of Stove Top stuffing, and much more on the Volunteer Bureau's Christmas list.
Monetary donations to help purchase perishables and items not donated also are appreciated, said Koski.
Charitable receipts are available upon request.
If you would like to make a donation, contact the Volunteer Bureau at 274-9555.
As in past years, the community Christmas dinner will be free and open to all.
It usually draws 200-plus people from all walks of life. Some do not have family here to share the holiday with while others simply want to socialize with their fellow citizens and embrace the spirit of fellowship.
Some people come individually or in couples while some entire families attend.
Thanks to renovations at Knox United Church a few years ago, the venue now is fully-accessible—opening up the Christmas dinner to more people than before at that location.
Those who can't attend the dinner in person, for whatever reason, can have a Christmas meal delivered to them via “Meals on Wheels.”
If you need a meal delivered to you, contact June Caul at 274-2209 to arrange for it no later than Dec. 23.
About 70 people get “Meals on Wheels” delivered to them every Christmas Day.