Community Christmas Dinner organizers eager for 2022 return

Herald file photo. Community Christmas Dinner volunteers take a well-deserved break during the 2018 dinner at St. Mary High School. The dinner returns to the Christmas calendar on Sunday for the first time since 2019.

For the first time since 2019, the Prince Albert Community Christmas Dinner will welcome guests on Christmas Day.

Isabelle Impey, one of the chief organizers of the Community Christmas Dinner, said they gave out food hampers instead the past two years instead of hosting an in person meal. That’s going to change on Sunday, when guests return to Ecole St. Mary High School for a Christmas Day meal.

“We had restrictions for two years so we couldn’t have the big meal,” Impey said. “We are back after a two year hiatus (and) there was really good response. People are really looking forward to it.”

The return of the annual Christmas meal means organizers are once again looking for volunteers. The list includes everything from delivery drivers, to prep people, to servers. Organizers are also looking for monetary or food donations.

“We are planning for a lot of people to come and eat,” Impey said. “If there are any volunteers we will be really happy to have them.

“It’s really a busy time and we have a lot of people coming and going. There is going to be a lot of extra work in making sure that when people leave, the tables are disinfected and everything is well looked after. It’s a little bit different than before.”

Preparations begin at 9 a.m. on Christmas Eve. Impey said she expects they’ll be busy until about mid-afternoon, then return on Christmas morning, starting at 8 a.m.

“We need people to be there to welcome those who are coming to eat and join us, and just make people happy,” Impey explained. “Also, we have, of course, the kids. Santa’s Shop will be open and we have toys for the kids and goodies and stuff.”

Organizers are inviting everyone from old friends to new people in the community for the dinner. That list includes newcomers from Ukraine who have arrived since the start of the Russian invasion.

“We are trying to make it especially nice and warm for them,” Impey said.

“We are looking forward to seeing a lot of our people that have been with us for a long time. They have been calling and they are quite excited that we are doing this again. We have long standing people who have helped us over the years.”

On Christmas Day, entry for the Dinner will be found at the main doors facing Sacred Heart Cathedral.

To volunteer or make a donation contact Impey at 306-980-7794, Elann at 940-2369 or John at 306-930-5539

While the Christmas dinner has returned to in-person festivities, not everything is back to normal. Impey said they won’t be doing deliveries meals this year, so they are encouraging everyone to travel to St. Mary High School.
“They should just come and spend the day with all of the other people who will be there and enjoy themselves,” Impey said.

The Community Christmas Dinner is schedule for Ecole St. Mary High School on Christmas Day from noon until 4 p.m.