(L-R) The team who works behind the scenes to make sure the Sidney Community Christmas dinner goes off without a hitch includes: Kurtis Francis, store manager of Thrifty Foods in Sidney, chef Clara Knight, Patti Sanders of the Mary Winspear Centre, volunteer Sandra Rafferty, Dave Friend who will emcee the event, Santa sidekick Vern England, Dave Alexander, store manager of Save-on-Foods and Wendy Warshawski (seated).

Community Christmas dinner in Sidney ensures no one spends holidays alone

Annual event celebrates 19 years of serving up a festive feast with all the trimmings

For nearly 20 years a group of volunteers has spent Christmas Day in the kitchen of the Mary Winspear Centre making sure turkeys are cooked, stuffing is seasoned and plates are full, welcoming the community to share in a meal.

Originally the idea was to provide a place for seniors spending Christmas alone, but the tradition has grown to include families from across the Peninsula.

“Anyone who wants to come,” says volunteer co-ordinator Wendy Warshawski. “I just love to see the people that are benefiting from it.”

RELATED: Peninsula firefighters look to the community for help in giving back

Nineteen years ago, roughly 50 people came to a Christmas lunch held at the former Silver Threads seniors centre.

By the following year, the team had moved to Bodine Hall at the Mary Winspear Centre because of the “huge increase in attendance,” Warshawski says.

This year a team of 35 volunteers will tie on an apron and get down to work cooking a festive feast with all the trimmings thanks to donations from Fairway Market, Save-on-Foods and Thrifty Foods in Sidney.

RELATED: Sidney Museum kicks it up a notch with Christmas toy exhibit

Dessert is provided by Breadstuffs Deli and Bakery in Brentwood Bay and for those who may need transportation getting to the hall, members of the Lions Club will be on hand to get folks in, and home again.

Warshawski and her team start preparing for the event in September as the number of attendees continues to grow each year. Admission is by donation but no one will be turned away for lack of funds or space.

“We will make room,” she says. “Staff here will always throw up another table.”

Two scheduled sittings at 11:15 and 1:15 help to disperse the crowd and ensure Santa gets to visit with everyone.

And though the now 85-year-old Warshawski is at the helm of the whole production she is quick to extend the credit, to the local businesses who make the meal possible and to her dedicated chef, Clara Knight.

“Nobody is the boss,” she stresses. “We work as a team.”

To reserve a table call Wendy Warshawski at 250-656-7678.


@kristyn_anthony
kristyn.anthony@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Confusing parking lot blamed for cars tipping into flowerbeds at Peninsula Canadian Tire

Tow and repairs cost thousands, engineer says drivers’ responsibility, Canadian Tire stay quiet

Victoria Board of Education reviews its catchment boundary plans this week

Following consultation process, SD 61 ready to recommend shift in school learning lines

Saanich says it will take months to fix a sink hole that appeared during ‘Snowmaggedon’

Roads closed in the area after the sink hole first opened in early February

Suspect steals jewelry and ice cream bars in Oak Bay break and enter

Oak Bay resident loses $2,000 in gift cards to Visa Scam

New secondary school planned for north Langford

Province announces $18.6 million in funding for site

WATCH: Barbers battle it out in Victoria

‘Barber Battle’ saw stylists and barbers from across North America go head-to-head

Suicide confirmed in case of B.C. father who’d been missing for months

2018 disappearance sparked massive search for Ben Kilmer

Eight U.S. senators write to John Horgan over B.C. mining pollution

The dispute stems from Teck Resources’ coal mines in B.C.’s Elk Valley

Threats charge against Surrey’s Jaspal Atwal stayed

Atwal, 64, was at centre of controversy in 2018 over his attendance at prime minister’s reception in India

Anti-vaxxer Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to speak in Surrey

He’s keynote speaker at Surrey Environment and Business Awards luncheon by Surrey Board of Trade Sept. 17

Otters devour 150 trout at Kootenay hatchery

The hatchery has lost close to 150 fish in the past several months

B.C. church’s Pride flag defaced for second time in 12 days

Delta’s Ladner United Church says it will continue to fly the flag for Pride month

Update: Two shot, two arrested at Toronto Raptors victory rally

The team and several dignitaries, including Justin Trudeau, remained on stage

Oil and gas sector cautious as deadline on Trans Mountain decision nears

Trudeau government expected to announce whether it will approve pipeline for second time on Tuesday

Most Read