Christmas spirit thrives at community dinner

Tyler Clarke
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People from all backgrounds broke bread under one roof during Prince Albert’s annual Christmas Day Community Dinner.


By mid-afternoon, one of the event’s key organizers, Marvin Sanderson, said that it was shaping up to be the biggest community dinner yet, with crowds packing the St. Mary High School cafeteria area.

“We’ve got probably, my guess is we’ve had 60 volunteers come in through here, just in this part,” he said motioning his hand over the kitchen area. “We have another 80 out there,” he said of the cafeteria area.

Sanderson believes that positive reviews that followed past dinners have spurred more families than ever toward the annual dinner, which comes free of charge to all those involved.

It’s not just the city’s less fortunate who showed up for the annual dinner on Wednesday, attendee Oliver Pearson said, noting that his employment at the Alberta oil patch is enough that he doesn’t’ need charity.

It’s the time of year where they have to come and have a meal and socialize with people. Oliver Pearson

For him and many others, Wednesday’s gathering was about community.

“It’s the time of year where they have to come and have a meal and socialize with people,” he said.

“These people here really have a nice heart,” he said of the volunteers. “Everyone is really accepted.”

Smiling faces were prevalent throughout the St. Mary High School cafeteria during the afternoon, as people ate and socialized.

Children were seen playing with the toys they were given, as well as decorating gingerbread men and participating in various other activities they were able to take part in.

The Daily Herald will follow up with organizers later this week for a follow-up story centred on their reaction to this year’s community dinner, as well as the final numbers.  

Organizations: Mary High School, Daily Herald

Geographic location: Alberta

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