COVID-19 may prevent the Fraser family from preparing a community meal this Christmas, but it isn’t stopping them from serving one.
Last Christmas, Ken, wife Erin and a team of volunteers were busy in the kitchen at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, working to prepare the first Home For Christmas dinner. This was the replacement to the cancelled Friends at Christmas meal that had taken place for about 17 years. The Frasers decided to step up and fill its place with an event that offered carollers, crafts and a huge feast.
With the pandemic and the related provincial health order prohibiting gatherings of more than 50, the determined Frasers came up with a different way to serve this year’s Home for Christmas meal. From noon to 2 p.m. on Dec. 25, they are welcoming people to stop by at McGuire Lake Park for a stroll, to maintain a safe distance while listening to carollers, and to enjoy a cup of cocoa, fresh baking and pizza.
The event has received the support of the local law enforcement and the City of Salmon Arm.
“Regulations require that we can’t have more than 50 people at the food tent,” explained Ken and Erin. “As such, once people have their lunch and drinks, they’re encouraged to take a stroll around McGuire Lake.
“Carollers and displays sprinkled along the path are meant, in part, to draw patrons away from the food tent, so that we can help prevent crowds from growing. Our volunteer staff will take a kind and charitable approach in carrying out the COVID regulations.”
There is no cost to take part in the event, but donations can be made to support it through the Home for Christmas fund at SASCU, or by writing a cheque to “Home for Christmas”, PO Box 221, Salmon Arm V1E 4N3. Any extra funding will go towards next year’s event.
“We had some surplus from donations last year, but I don’t believe it will be enough to cover the total cost,” said Ken. “My wife and I will probably dip into our personal savings, but I’m hoping some donations arrive sometime before New Year’s.”
In addition to the Home for Christmas outing at McGuire, the Frasers are also organizing a “Christmas Cruise” in which a convoy of vehicles will drive to care homes in Salmon Arm to help spread some cheer.
“This is a holiday event where people are invited to decorate their vehicles, play their favourite Christmas tunes (with the windows down), and drive to nine of Salmon Arm’s assisted living and long-term care facilities,” said the Frasers, adding their goal is to wish residents a Merry Christmas.
“This year, people in nursing homes and palliative care have suffered beyond measure,” said the Frasers. “This event is meant to be a huge and loud and hopeful reminder that we want them to hang in there, that we keep them in our prayers, and that we wish them a Merry Christmas.”
The convoy will leave from Blackburn Park at 10 a.m., and is expected to last about an hour and a half.
To take part in the convoy, or for more information, call 250-832-4663.