Lacombe Community Christmas Dinner on the way

Doors open at noon on Dec. 25th with dinner served at 12:30 p.m.

It’s a wonderful means of serving the community during the Christmas season.

The Lacombe Community Christmas Dinner is set to run Dec. 25th at the Lacombe Memorial Centre, with doors opening at noon and dinner served at 12:30 p.m.

There is no cost to attend. For more information, call Bethel Christian Reformed Church at 403-782-6400 (please leave a message) or check out www.lacombebethelcrc.org.

Folks can also go to their facebook page – @BethelChristianReformedChurchLacombeAlbertaCanada.

The community dinner was actually launched about 20 years ago, said Cora Hoekstra, a coordinator of the event along with her husband Pete. Other folks have stepped up to run the dinner over the years since with the Hoekstras and their church – Bethel Christian Reformed Church. Having caught the vision, they started managing the dinner about a dozen years ago.

“We head it up but it’s funded by our church and we recruit the volunteers – probably about 50 per cent of the volunteers come from our church, too, and then about 50 per cent from the community at large,” she said. “The community has been great,” she said, adding the City of Lacombe has been supportive of the endeavour as well.

“The City has been fantastic,” she said. “In reality, I always get volunteers coming from anywhere. They phone and say, ‘Hey, I would like to volunteer for you.’ It’s very much a community effort.”

Hoekstra said it started at the Legion and they were initially serving about 100 people. “Then it was 120, then about 140,’ she said. The need has certainly been growing over the years as well.

“Last year, we served 200, so this year we are aiming to have enough tables and chairs to seat about 250,” she said. “We’ll bump up the food a little bit, too. Someone once asked, ‘How do you have enough food?’ I said I didn’t know, but it always works,” she added with a laugh. Besides the Christmas dinner with all the trimmings, there are also a few games and door prizes thrown in as well during the course of the event,” she said.

From about noon until 2 p.m. it’s a nice way to spend part of Christmas Day surrounded by folks from the community.

“You feel like you are going to a banquet, and that’s what is really neat, too.”

Hoekstra said the event is truly open to everyone. “We really want the message to be that it’s for anyone who wants to enjoy a Christmas dinner with people – and there are actually a lot of people, no matter what their stage of life is, where they are alone on Christmas Day.

“This gives them an opportunity to feel a part of the community, to feel that fellowship and relationship. That’s what we also want to celebrate.”

For Cora, there have been lots of great memories from over the years of seeing people join together to celebrate at least part of their Christmas Day in this way.

“You see just wonderful fellowship in the room,” she said. “It just epitomizes that Christmas spirit and the community spirit tied together. We live in Lacombe, it’s a great community – and here we are enjoying this very special day together.”

For more information, call Bethel Christian Reformed Church at 403-782-6400 (please leave a message) or check out www.lacombebethelcrc.org.

Folks can also go to their facebook page – @BethelChristianReformedChurchLacombeAlbertaCanada.

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