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Help wanted for annual Christmas Day feast

Nancy Rizk, Henry Wikkerink and Marita Judson are once again collecting donations to host Cowichan’s annual Christmas Day lunch. - Krista Siefken
Nancy Rizk, Henry Wikkerink and Marita Judson are once again collecting donations to host Cowichan’s annual Christmas Day lunch.
— image credit: Krista Siefken

When Nancy Rizk thinks about Cowichan’s annual Christmas day lunch, she doesn’t immediately think of dozens of turkeys or mountains of cranberry sauce.

She thinks about the strong sense of community that makes the holiday tradition such a success.

“Everyone is so generous with their time and with their donations,” said Rizk, “that generally it’s really an easy dinner to organize, because everyone is just so willing and so helpful.”

Which is saying a lot, when you consider Rizk is helping organize a feast for 450 people.

The Christmas lunch is the brainchild of Howie George, and is now in its tenth year.

“It’s not just for the homeless,” said Rizk. “It’s for people who don’t have the resources for a Christmas day meal.”

Donations of food items — everything from turkeys to cranberry sauce, boxes of stuffing, potatoes, carrots and other vegetables, plus boxes of oranges and apples, loaves of bread and boxes of juice — are being collected at New Life Community Church.

Also being accepted are gift cards for grocery stores plus personal care items, such as toques and gloves, socks and hats, as well as hygiene items such as toothpaste and toothbrushes and shampoo, and toys for kids.

“Everything we get is given out,” said Rizk. “If people give cash, we use it to purchase any extra items we need to cook the meal, and the leftover is turned into gift cards to give out to people.”

Items can be dropped off until Dec. 21, and volunteers are still invited to donate their time.

The Christmas day event, meanwhile, starts at 10:30 a.m. on Dec. 25, with food being served from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. at the Si’em Lelum gym.

“It’s rewarding for everyone,” said Rizk. “In spite of the busyness of our lives, there’s still something to be said for the preparing and sharing of a meal.”

Call 250-701-4911 for more.

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