To-go Christmas dinners are on the menu in Salmon Arm again this year.
Turkey with all the trimmings will be available to those with a free ticket, which are available from non-profit organizations and social service agencies in town.
Once again volunteers from the three Salmon Arm Rotary Clubs have joined forces with the First United and Broadview Evangelical Free churches, to provide dinners bagged in special containers. The Rotary Clubs shared the cost.
Organizer Winston Lee-Hai said the hope is to serve about 600 dinners, just as was done in 2020.
He said the turkeys are being cooked at the Sorrento Centre, following Food Safe protocols so they will be cooked to restaurant standards. Both First United and E-Free churches have commercial kitchens, so the dinners will be packaged and stored there, ready for pick up.
The Rotarians have connections with a number of agencies, he said, so tickets are being distributed.
In addition, “there will be a bit more outreach than last year. We want to meet the people on the street. Folks who don’t really have a place to stay.”
Lee-Hai said several apartment buildings in the community quite often house a number of singles or seniors. The managers will be contacted in case anyone would like a dinner.
Pick up and delivery will start around noon on Saturday, Dec. 25. Lee-Hai said people may come to the church designated on their ticket. Also, volunteers will deliver the meals if people request it.
There are three time slots available at each church, in order to manage the flow of people arriving. Each ticket will outline which church to go to and when.
At First United, A = noon to 1 p.m.; B is 1 to 2 p.m. and C is 2 to 3 p.m.
At Broadview E-Free Church, times are: D, noon to 1 p.m.; E is 1 to 2 p.m. and F = 2 to 3 p.m.
If you’d like information or have questions, there are four numbers to call: Doug Leatherdale at 250-832-2850; Second Harvest Food Bank at 250-833-4011; Salvation Army Food Bank at 250-832-9194; and First United Church at 250-832-3860.
Lee-Hai said if someone would like a dinner and doesn’t have a ticket, “Don’t give up… Still connect, we may have extras and we’d be happy to give you one.”
He added there is always an abundance of volunteers, which is appreciated.
Up until 2019, sit-down dinners were offered with the churches providing all the ingredients, said Lee-Hai, who has organized dinners for several years.
In 2020, in keeping with pandemic protocols, the to-go dinners began.
The dinners are very gratifying for friends and community members who volunteer, he said. They’re also in line with who Rotarians are.
“A Rotarian, in my view, is someone who is passionate about providing service to their community, whether it’s local, regional, national or international.”
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