(L-R) The team who works behind the scenes to make sure the Sidney Community Christmas dinner goes off without a hitch includes: Kurtis Francis, store manager of Thrifty Foods in Sidney, chef Clara Knight, Patti Sanders of the Mary Winspear Centre, volunteer Sandra Rafferty, Dave Friend who will emcee the event, Santa sidekick Vern England, Dave Alexander, store manager of Save-on-Foods and Wendy Warshawski (seated).

(L-R) The team who works behind the scenes to make sure the Sidney Community Christmas dinner goes off without a hitch includes: Kurtis Francis, store manager of Thrifty Foods in Sidney, chef Clara Knight, Patti Sanders of the Mary Winspear Centre, volunteer Sandra Rafferty, Dave Friend who will emcee the event, Santa sidekick Vern England, Dave Alexander, store manager of Save-on-Foods and Wendy Warshawski (seated).

Community Christmas dinner in Sidney ensures no one spends holidays alone

Annual event celebrates 19 years of serving up a festive feast with all the trimmings

For nearly 20 years a group of volunteers has spent Christmas Day in the kitchen of the Mary Winspear Centre making sure turkeys are cooked, stuffing is seasoned and plates are full, welcoming the community to share in a meal.

Originally the idea was to provide a place for seniors spending Christmas alone, but the tradition has grown to include families from across the Peninsula.

“Anyone who wants to come,” says volunteer co-ordinator Wendy Warshawski. “I just love to see the people that are benefiting from it.”

RELATED: Peninsula firefighters look to the community for help in giving back

Nineteen years ago, roughly 50 people came to a Christmas lunch held at the former Silver Threads seniors centre.

By the following year, the team had moved to Bodine Hall at the Mary Winspear Centre because of the “huge increase in attendance,” Warshawski says.

This year a team of 35 volunteers will tie on an apron and get down to work cooking a festive feast with all the trimmings thanks to donations from Fairway Market, Save-on-Foods and Thrifty Foods in Sidney.

RELATED: Sidney Museum kicks it up a notch with Christmas toy exhibit

Dessert is provided by Breadstuffs Deli and Bakery in Brentwood Bay and for those who may need transportation getting to the hall, members of the Lions Club will be on hand to get folks in, and home again.

Warshawski and her team start preparing for the event in September as the number of attendees continues to grow each year. Admission is by donation but no one will be turned away for lack of funds or space.

“We will make room,” she says. “Staff here will always throw up another table.”

Two scheduled sittings at 11:15 and 1:15 help to disperse the crowd and ensure Santa gets to visit with everyone.

And though the now 85-year-old Warshawski is at the helm of the whole production she is quick to extend the credit, to the local businesses who make the meal possible and to her dedicated chef, Clara Knight.

“Nobody is the boss,” she stresses. “We work as a team.”

To reserve a table call Wendy Warshawski at 250-656-7678.


@kristyn_anthony
kristyn.anthony@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

BC Housing ensures that by March 31, shelter will be available to all people living outside. (Black Press Media file photo)
All unhoused Victoria residents will be offered shelter by March 31, says BC Housing

BC Housing working to secure shelter locations in coming weeks

Robert Schram, here seen in January 2016, died Saturday, according to a friend. (Black Press Media file photo)
Sidney, Saanich Peninsula mourn the death of Mr. Beads

Bead artist Robert Schram was a familiar, well-loved figure in Sidney and beyond

Cathy Armstrong, executive director of the Land Conservancy, Paul Nursey CEO of Destination Greater Victoria and Saanich Coun. Susan Brice helped to kick off the annual Greater Victoria Flower Count at Abkhazi Garden Monday. This year, the flower count is less about rubbing the region’s weather in the rest of Canada’ faces, and more about extending a bouquet of compassion and love. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
2021 Greater Victoria Flower Count sows seeds of compassion

Friendly flower count competition runs from March 3 to 10

Langley resident Carrie MacKay shared a video showing how stairs are a challenge after spending weeks in hospital battling COVID-19 (Special to Langley Advance Times)
VIDEO: Stairs a challenge for B.C. woman who chronicled COVID-19 battle

‘I can now walk for six (to) 10 minutes a day’

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s coronavirus situation, May 8, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C.’s weekend COVID-19 cases: 532 Saturday, 508 Sunday, 438 Monday

Fraser Health still has most, eight more coronavirus deaths

B.C. Attorney General David Eby speaks in the legislature, Dec. 7, 2020. Eby was given responsibility for housing after the October 2020 provincial election. (Hansard TV)
B.C. extends COVID-19 rent freeze again, to the end of 2021

‘Renoviction’ rules tightened, rent capped to inflation in 2022

Face mask hangs from a rear-view mirror. (Black Press image)
B.C. CDC unveils guide on how to carpool during the pandemic

Wearing masks, keeping windows open key to slowing the spread of COVID-19

Churches, including Langley’s Riverside Calvary Church, are challenging the regulations barring them from holding in-person worship services during COVID-19. (Langley Advance Times file)
Det. Sgt. Jim Callender. (Hamilton Police Service screenshot)
B.C. man dead, woman seriously injured after shooting in Hamilton, Ont.

The man was in the process of moving to the greater Toronto area, police say

Police have identified the vehicle involved in the Feb. 14 hit-and-run in Chemainus and are continuing to investigate. (Black Press Media files)
Police seize and identify suspect vehicle in hit-and-run

Investigation into death expected to be lengthy and involved

(Black Press file photo)
Child in critical condition, homicide investigators probe incident near Agassiz

The child was transported to hospital but is not expected to survive

Sewage plant in Lower Mainland, operated by Metro Vancouver. (Metro Vancouver screenshot)
‘Poop tracker’ launches as researchers test Lower Mainland sewage water for COVID-19

‘Studying the virus in wastewater allows researchers to look at an entire population…’

Most Read