File photo

File photo

Annual Community Christmas Dinner pivots to continue after hiatus

Meals available for pick-up and delivery

After the cancellation of Community Christmas Dinner’s 20th-anniversary celebration last year, amendments were made to ensure a special meal is offered to residents for pick-up and delivery this year. The event is put together by Sylvan Lake Community Partners Association.

“We sat down and thought of how to do the Christmas dinner in a Covid world. The event was dearly missed by the community in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. So we came up with the idea of pre-packaged meals for pickup or delivery, our Annual Community Christmas Dinner with a twist,” said Jen Baliant, receptionist and events coordinator for Sylvan Lake Community Partners Assoc. “This would be the 20th annual Christmas dinner. In the past when we have held the big event at the Community Center, we have had 200-400 individuals attend. Even though we are not doing the traditional Community Christmas Dinner, we are anticipating having at least 200 meal packages to provide,” she added.

The free-of-cost meals would consist of turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, mixed vegetables, gravy, cranberry sauce, dinner buns, a small dessert, etc. for each family member. There will also be a gift for each child under 18 years of age and seniors.

Having budgeted approximately $5,000 for the free event, Baliant hopes to see donations pick-up.

“So far donations have been slow since we announced, but hopefully it picks up soon. If anyone is interested in donating food, gifts, or monetary, they are welcome to phone the office to find out exactly what we are in need of or if they can drop off at our office,” said Baliant. She added families and individuals interested to receive a meal are required to pre-register by Dec. 20.

Baliant said the tradition of the Community Christmas Dinner was initiated by a local family 21 years ago.

“This was originally started in 2000 by the Ellerby Family, to provide a family Christmas event for those who were alone for Christmas and it provided an opportunity to enjoy food, fellowship, and Christmas music.

“In previous years, we have had live music by local performers. Santa would come to visit and give out gifts to the children, everyone would visit and lots of food was prepared. This year, unfortunately, we can not have a large event, but we know a lot of people enjoyed the Community Christmas Dinner, so this is our way of still having the dinner with the current situation going on in the world,” said Baliant.

Baliant asks anyone wanting to register for the dinner, volunteer to prepare the meals or deliver to families, or donate towards the meals and gifts, to reach out at 403-887-9989. “We are hoping that in the current situation with Covid, many will register, volunteer or donate to make this a wonderful and successful Community Christmas Dinner,” she concluded.

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