Home for Christmas

Volunteers serve up a hearty meal at the 2014 Community Christmas Dinner. This year’s dinner will be held at St. Mary High School on Christmas Day. Organizers are expecting more than 3,000 people to attend. File Photo.

When volunteers roll out the turkey and stuffing at the annual Community Christmas Dinner on Sunday, the event will look a little different than it did 16 years ago.

Roughly 700 people attended that inaugural dinner back in 2000, which cost organizers about $1,500 to host. This year, organizers are preparing for an attendance level that dwarfs that figure.

It’s expected that more than 3,000 meals will be served on Christmas Day, which organizers say is a reflection of how important the event is to the community.

“It’s tough times for our people,” organizing committee chairman Sol Sanderson explained. “Not just indigenous people, non-indigenous people as well.”

Sanderson has worked as an organizer, fundraiser or volunteer for the community dinner since its inception. During that time he’s watched attendees and volunteers, who come from across the north to help, embrace the event with zeal.

“It’s really encouraging to see people prepare to give voluntarily,” he said.

The annual dinner attracts a wide variety of attendees, from truck drivers to seniors to out-of-town visitors

Organizers want the event to be a true community dinner, so everyone is welcome attend. It’s also free, which couldn’t be done without a generous group of donors.

Sanderson said the costs of food and other necessities goes up every year, so those donations become more and more important, and he thanked those who gave them the support to make it happen.

The annual Community Christmas Dinner is scheduled to run from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Christmas Day at St. Mary High School. To volunteer or donate, call 922-3071 or 980-7794.

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