The Salvation Army Church’s traditional turkey dinner with all the fixings drew crowds on Christmas Day.
Served at noon by volunteers in bright red aprons, the annual feast boasted of turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, mixed vegetables, stuffing and deserts.
For more than 35 years a Central Alberta family, who wishes to remain anonymous, has footed the grocery bill for the Christmas Days meal.
Major Larry Bridger said they were expecting about 200 people but they had food to serve 250 people. Another 25 or so meals will be delivered free of charge by Associated Cab to people in the community who were unable to make the dinner.
“For most people families are together on Christmas,” said Bridger. “Some of these people who come are just alone and they would like to have not just a good meal but have company. Then the people who are living on the streets might not necessarily have not opportunity so we provide them with that opportunity as well to have a good meal and being able to sit down in a warm place and enjoy some fellowship with other people as well.”
About 15 Sally Ann volunteers spent a few hours on Christmas Eve peeling, chopping and slicing in preparation for the annual dinner at the church. The food tally included nine turkeys, five large hams, 100 pounds of potatoes and other foods.
Another 20 volunteers served the dishes from the assembly line buffet to the guests on Christmas Day.
Volunteer Dianne Sutherland has volunteered slicing and dicing on Christmas Eve and serving on Christmas Day for four years.
“It’s an enjoyable part of my service,” said Sutherland.
Cheryl Krawchuk was one of the first guests to arrive for dinner. The Red Deer resident tries to come every year to enjoy a good meal and to catch up with old friends like Doug Guerin and Bill Krawchuk. The threesome shared a table and some laughs.
“I like the way they put the dinner on,” said Krawchuk. “They help people who have no place to go.”
Guerin said he likes to see his friends that he hasn’t seen in a long time.
“I have no place to go for Christmas so I like coming here for Christmas dinner,” said Doug Guerin. “Have something to eat and I won’t be hungry.”
Bachelor David Burt, 49, said he does not want to cook a full turkey dinner for himself. Like Krawchuk, he has been enjoying the dinners at the Salvation Army Church for at least three or four years.
“It’s like going to grandma’s house,” said Burt. “Everything here is homemade. It tastes great.”
This year a secret Santa dropped off warm toques for all the guests.