(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

Lone wolf eating seal and howling away on Discovery Island

Fun facts about Takaya the wolf, like his a 36-hour tour around Chatham, Discovery Islands

PHOTOS: Hundreds gather in downtown Victoria for Extinction Rebellion climate protest

The rally is the kickoff to the Global Climate Strike Week of Action

Hundreds of foreign species continue to wash along B.C. coast following Japanese tsunami

The Royal BC Museum is home to thousands of samples collected along the west coast of North America

Church bells to ring for 11 minutes in support of Global Climate Strike

Each minute to signify years left to drastically reduce greenhouse gas pollution

Crown alleges resentment of ex-wife drove Oak Bay father to kill his daughters

Patrick Weir alleged in his closing arguments that Andrew Berry is responsible for the deaths of his daughters

PHOTOS: Young protesters in B.C. and beyond demand climate change action

Many demonstaers were kids and teens who skipped school to take part

Walmart to quit selling e-cigarettes amid vaping backlash

U.S.’s largest retailer points to ‘growing’ complications in federal, state and local regulations

Former B.C. lifeguard gets house arrest for possession of child porn

Cees Vanderniet of Grand Forks will serve six months of house arrest, then two years’ probation

How to react to Trudeau’s racist photos? With humility, B.C. prof says

‘We are now treating racism as a crime that you cannot recover from’

‘I’d do it again,’ says B.C. man who swam naked, drunk in Toronto shark tank

David Weaver, of Nelson, was drunk when he went to Ripley’s Aquarium in Toronto on Oct. 12 2018

VIDEO: Fire destroys Williams Lake strip club targeted by past arson attempts

Diamonds and Dust Entertainment Lounge destroyed by fire, as well as New World Tea and Coffee House

Trudeau seeks meeting with Singh to apologize for blackface, brownface photos

‘I will be apologizing to him personally as a racialized Canadian,’ Trudeau said Friday

Crime Stoppers most wanted for Greater Victoria for the week of September 17

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Should the province step in to upgrade the road to Bamfield?

The death of two University of Victoria students on a bus bound… Continue reading

Most Read