The annual Community Christmas Day Dinner is once again returning to the Pro-Cathedral Hall in downtown North Bay on Christmas Day.
Due to COVID-19, the past two Christmas Dinners have taken place at Memorial Gardens in North Bay.
Sylvia Antinozzi, Chair of the Community Christmas Day Dinner. is chairing the event for the fifth year. She says the church venue gives the day more of a Christmas feel.
"It is more family-like, the tables will be decorated," said Antinozzi during Monday's media event.
"It is cozy. We are closer together as we used to be. There will be gifts and there will be music. Memorial Gardens was huge so you would lose that whereas here it will be concentrated. You will feel the festivities, you will feel the atmosphere."
She says the last time the event was held at the church, they handed out 450 meals.
"I am afraid we will have more than that this year," she admits.
Despite the cost of food escalating, Antinozzi says that supporters are helping so much that it will not be an issue.
"We are very lucky," she said.
"We are very well supported by the community and we have some champion donors. If we have anything extra we will re-distribute it to the North Bay Food Bank and the Gathering Place (soup kitchen)."
Maureen Brazeau, CEO of Rebuilt Resources is one of the event's valuable contributors.
Brazeau says Rebuilt has been helping fund the Christmas Dinner for more than 20 years
"It is really important, our community is important and it is important for Rebuilt to be there as well," said Brazeau.
Antinozzi is closing in on her 10th straight year helping at the local Christmas Dinner. She estimates between 50 and 100 volunteers will join her on Christmas Day to help serve the food or work in the kitchen cleaning up.
She loves to see the joy that people have when they come for that special meal.
"For me this is precious and it fills my heart," she says.
"I hope they get a little bit of joy on Christmas day. We all know people are together celebrating and having a good time with their family in warm homes. I want them to taste a little bit of that."
The Christmas day meal will be served on the 25th from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Takeouts will be available from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. that day.
For more information or to help, you can email Sylvia at firstname.lastname@example.org