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Christmas Dinner Committee filling plates and hearts for 10th year (Photos)

Wednesday, December 25, 2013   by: Mark Pare

Turkey, potatoes and all the fixings filled plates at the Pro Cathedral Church on Wednesday morning.

Now in it’s 10th year, the event is for people who are alone on Christmas Day and want to have a meal.

Though, as Chair of the Christmas Day Dinner Committee Annette Dutrisac told BayToday, it is a non-denominational event so all walks of life were invited, from young to old.

“It’s all age groups, everybody’s involved and it’s just a wonderful time,” she said, “Everybody is full of great cheer and that’s what were all about, good cheer.”

Dutrisac is in her first year as Chair but has been part of the dinner since it’s inception.  She says the people who contribute; from the servers to the many people who donated items for the gift bags amazed and overwhelmed her.

“There’s over 300 gift bags to give out, donated by people in the parish, they came and they got a bag and they filled it,” she said, “There’s teddy bears, there’s toy ships, you name it, there’s everything imaginable here.  The businesses of North Bay have been very generous in their donations.”

To cook the food, Dutrisac says they shared the kitchen at The Gathering Place across the street.  She adds with the limited space, the staff at The Gathering Place prepared much of the food to be brought over.

The food was served out of steamers that the committee own for the very first year.  Dutrisac says in past years, they’ve had to borrow them.

“We’ve come a long way and each year, it seems to be better and better,” she said, “We’re learning, when we started, we didn’t know too much about it.”

She says there are volunteer coordinators that have been working since early September, some that control various roles throughout.

From greeters to food line servers and even young musicians, all played their part.

Paul was one of the volunteers for this year.  He says he’s been a part of the dinner for four years and that the event is smoothly run.

“Things are going wonderfully well,” he said, “It’s cold outside but people have come in and they’re cheerful and they’re being fed and it’s just a wonderful spirit here today.”

There were so many volunteers that Dutrisac says they’ve had to turn some away.  She says people are disappointed, though lending a helping hand doesn’t require too much effort.

“People are here alone,” she told a possible volunteer, “So helping is stopping to visit with somebody.”

Indulging in the meal was a man named Rob.  He says if you wanted a good Christmas dinner, the Pro Cathedral was the place to be.

“Couldn’t have asked for anything better,” he said, “I’m telling you, that’s the best food I’ve eaten in a long time.”

Dutrisac says it’s a successful event because of the people who offered their time to help so for those who wanted to contribute but couldn’t, there’s always next year.

“Last year, we ran a little short so anybody, if you’re interested in coming out, to help us put this together next year, come to our meeting in May,” she said, ”We’ll put the announcement out there, come and join us.  We’re always looking for good ideas and different things to do and just to keep moving forward and bringing this event to the community.”

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