Christmas dinners offer place for all

NANAIMO – Churches and charitable groups give out food and warmth for the holiday.

The warm feelings of giving and receiving will come from hot meals, clothing and a chance for people to gather over Christmas and Boxing Day.

Organizations have coordinated to spread good cheer over the holidays this year instead of serving it all up at once.

The Salvation Army, for instance, served two sittings for turkey dinners Dec. 15, leaving other organizations to have their days of giving and celebration.

The Nanaimo 7-10 Club, at 205-285 Prideaux St., is extending its hours for Christmas Day will be open for breakfast 9 a.m. to noon, serving a pancake breakfast.

“It’s scrambled eggs, ham, potatoes and fruit,” said Gord Fuller, 7-10 Club society chairman. The club will reopen 1-4 p.m.

“It’s a drop-in for people who just want to stop by and say ‘hi’ or for people who just have nowhere to go,” Fuller said.

Nanaimo Seventh Day Adventist Church is opening its doors on Christmas Day for the ninth year running. A pancake breakfast starts at 10 a.m. and turkey dinners with all the fixings will be served starting at 3:30 p.m.

“But people can come and spend the whole day because we’ve got Christmas movies showing, we’ll have card games on the tables that people can play, coffee – endless coffee – and treats,” said Darlene van Appelen, church volunteer.

The church will also have a room with donated used warm clothing for people who need to ward off the chill outdoors.

“We have coupled up with Loaves and Fishes [food bank] again this year, so we’ll also be giving out bags of food at the end of the dinner,” van Appelen said.

The all-day event is for anyone who has no place to go Christmas Day. Rides will be provided for people who do not have transportation, by calling van Appelen at 250-729-5976.

Volunteers with Together We Can are taking their goodwill to the corner of Haliburton and Farquhar streets in front of Robinson Rentals on Boxing Day, 3-7 p.m.

“I remember one year when it snowed and there was a girl walking down there. She had just regular shoes on, miniskirt and just a sweater and she looked like she was half frozen,” said volunteer Don Varnier.

The group happened to have a parka, jeans and other clothing on hand that fit her.

“It’s nice when we’re able to hit the right person and help them out. It’s just a good feeling.”