Red Deer residents will have plenty of opportunities in the next couple of weeks to have turkey with all the trimmings at one of the many community Christmas dinners.
A Christmas meal is planned for the second year at Kentwood Alliance Church at 4 Kennedy Drive, in conjunction with the Northwood Heritage Estates Neighbourhood Watch Association. The free meal is open to residents of Northwood Heritage Estates and it will take place on Sunday from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the church. The event includes a turkey and ham dinner, children’s carnival and Christmas tree draw.
Loaves and Fishes will host a free dinner on Dec. 18 from 5 to 7 p.m. at 6002 54th Ave. The dinner is sponsored by the John Manville Plant in Innisfail, with trifle dessert by Cafe Millennium and buns from Tasty Bakery.
Sacred Heart Parish will have a free friendship meal on Dec. 20 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 5508 48A Ave., sponsored by the Knights of Columbus.
Salvation Army volunteers are planning to serve around 200 people at the annual free Christmas dinner set for Dec. 25, starting at noon, at 4837 54th St.
Captain/Pastor Jason Sabourin said with the economic situation the way it is, he expects many more people than the 150 served last year.
He said volunteers will be preparing eight big turkeys, five large hams and peeling 25 to 30 kg (60 to 70 pounds) of potatoes. Red Deer Bottling will provide pop for the dinner and Associated Cab will give rides to the event and also deliver meals to people unable to go to the centre. For delivery or pick up by taxi call the Salvation Army by Dec. 22 at 403-346-2251.
Berachah Place will open at 7:30 a.m. as usual on Christmas Day. It is located in the basement of the Turning Point building at 4611B Gaetz Ave.
Christmas celebrations will begin at noon and run until 6 p.m. at Berachah Place and will include a turkey dinner with all the trimmings, singing, sharing of life stories and gifts for those who register. Those who want to register can talk to Kim, Dan, Scott or Natalie by dropping into Berachah Place, which is a spot for individuals without a place to call home.
Berachah Place director Kimberley Wilson said they had the event for the first time last year and more than 115 people showed up.
“Last year I found the true meaning of Christmas,” Wilson said. She said she watched people’s eyes well up with tears as they opened a gift.
Wilson said if not for Berachah Place being open, many people who are homeless would be left wandering around in the cold on Christmas Day, waiting for the shelters to open up.
If someone would like to donate a gift to a person attending the Berachah Place event, they can contact 403-877-8055.