Barriere has always prided itself on being a community for everyone, a place where people care about others, and if a helping hand is needed there are many offered.
The 3rd Annual Community Christmas Dinner in 2020 played a large part in demonstrating the outpouring of caring that this community continues to provide during the holiday season.
Once December rolled around, Barriere and Area Chamber of Commerce office manager Leanne Hamblin dove into the free Christmas Dinner project with buckets of enthusiasm. Her energy was quickly proved catching as numerous folks immediately stepped up to help in a myriad of different ways to make the event a resounding success. Most importantly, this annual dinner is free, and due to the current pandemic, this year all of the meals were delivered free of charge right to the door.
“We’re up to 85 dinners and we have room for more,” posted Hamblin on Facebook partway through December, “Don’t wait to reserve your dinner. Due to the generosity of so many businesses and individuals, we are prepared to cook as many dinners as we need to. This dinner is for everyone, families, individual’s, people who can’t get to their families this year due to COVID-19 restrictions. So, if you’re debating whether you qualify for this dinner, you do! If you are outside of the 10 km delivery range, phone the number below – as the Chamber says, “We will figure something out.”
That is exactly what Hamblin and her team did. They figured it out and eventually delivered over 200 dinners on Christmas day. Hamblin says the dinner would not have been possible without numerous folks helping and donating, but there are five that went the extra mile.
“Without these five people, we wouldn’t have been fed at all,” said Hamblin, noting a big “thank you” to Laura Mairs, Brent Hamblin, Anne Cartwright, Joanne Pettersen and Irene Wassing.
“These people spent two days in the kitchen cooking our meal,” tells Hamblin, “Laura Mairs – this woman is amazing, nothing fazes her, she just gets it done. Laura hand picks her kitchen help and I just say “okay Laura, whatever you want”. So we have to send out a big thanks to Laura and her kitchen help; Brent, Anne, Joanne, and Irene Wassing.
“Together these people cooked over 200 dinners, and in case you’re wondering what 200 dinners look like, this is it. nine turkeys, five hams, 150 pounds of potatoes, 100 pounds of carrots, 15 large turnips, 25 pounds of yams, 50 pounds of brussel sprouts, with 10 pounds of onions and five kilograms of bacon, and the stuffing (11 pounds of sausage, 18 loaves of bread, 10 onions). To go along with that there were 18 pumpkin pies, five litres of whipping cream and 18 dozen buns. Oh, and we also had some homemade cranberry sauce that some of you may have gotten, but most did not, because we made it in advance and forgot we had it, oops, sorry! Now that’s a big meal! So big thanks goes out to Laura and her incredible kitchen helpers, because without them all of our 200 dinner guests would have had a very different Christmas.”
Hamblin also added the following names that all deserve special thanks:
“Lexxi and Jen Kerslake, they donated some really nice gifts that were put in some of the packages.
“Willy Lewis, he donated a lot of the teddy bears and all of the Christmas decorations that were in the packages.
“Barriere Elementary School students donated all of the handmade cards that were in the packages.
“North Thompson Activity Center donated wrapping paper to wrap boxes.
“All in all, we had 22 individuals and businesses who donated to the event, and 22 volunteers that volunteered their time to make it happen. We had many more people who donated cash when our drivers delivered their food. There’s no way for us to know who you are, but rest assured we appreciate your support and your donation.”
Perhaps thanks should also go out to the Barriere and Area Chamber of Commerce for spearheading this special event, and also Leanne Hamblin for putting it all together.
Thank you Barriere for another great Community Christmas Dinner, we’ll see you next year at the 4th annual dinner. “Same time, same place next year,” says Hamblin.