Around 300 people came to share dinner at the 100 Mile Community Hall for the 24th annual Community Christmas Dinner.
“We’ve probably had about 250 at the moment but we have enough for 300,” said Leila Emery, one the organizers and volunteers, adding they expected another 50 or so people wander in.
The dinner was organized by all the Christian denomination churches in 100 Mile House and area, said lead organizer Karen Schuurman from the Cariboo Christian Life Fellowship at 108 Mile Ranch. She said 300 attendees was the average but expected more people to show up because of the “insanity of the summer.”
The churches get together and present the dinner to bless the community, with Pastor Clint Lange from the Hillside Community Church sharing the message of Christmas on stage.
It’s Schuurman’s first time leading the organization of the dinner.
“I came to help peel and do pots and pans years ago and kind of ended up in my eyeballs ever since,” she said with a laugh. “I couldn’t do it without a bunch of really great helpers.”
Roughly 60 volunteers helped out with the dinner from cooking, washing dishes, baking and ushering. Donations also came in to allow the dinner to happen through local businesses, individuals, and the churches.
Organizing the dinner starts in September, where a lot of the effort is focused on recruiting volunteers, advertising, gathering donations and just getting people excited for some turkey.
“A lot of us wanted to be apart of this and we think it’s a joy, it’s Christmas and we get to share it with our community and it takes a lot of people and a lot of hours,” said Janette Blahut, a director at the Lake of the Trees Bible Camp.
According to Blahut, one thing the organizers noticed was 20 to 30 per cent of the volunteer pool the churches reached out to were unavailable due to relocating after the fires or for other personal reasons.
Blahut, with the camp, created a kid’s corner in the hall so children could play games and do arts and crafts allowing parents to socialize with other adults.
The dinner opened up with entertainment from the South Cariboo band, Front Porch and ended in carol singing.