A grand Semiahmoo Peninsula tradition – the annual White Rock and South Surrey Community Christmas Day Dinner – is back this year.
Postponed for two years due to COVID-19, the free dinner is set to return at noon on Dec. 25, at White Rock Baptist Church, 1657 140 St. (South Surrey).
It’s open to anyone and everyone who would otherwise spend Christmas Day alone, organizer Brian Hagerman said, “with no ability to share a traditional meal and fellowship with loved ones.”
But participants must pre-register by calling the reservations line as soon as possible.
The last dinner, held in 2019, served a maximum of 240 people – so places at the table are sure to fill up fast, Hagerman said.
Organized, as it has been for the past 43 years, by a community committee, the dinner also benefits from the sponsorship of Sources Community Resources Society, which provides registration and volunteer services for the event.
In addition to a traditional turkey-and-trimmings meal, the dinner is enlivened by seasonal decorations, a sing-a-long and a visit from Santa.
Hagerman said the proud tradition dates back to 1979 when community-minded White Rock citizens George Bryant, Rev. Howard Filsinger and Chip Barrett, reacting to some recent tragedies, vowed to create an event so that – in Bryant’s words – “no-one feels alone and lonely at Christmas.”
Located at the hall at the old First United Church in White Rock for many years, the event moved when the church closed in 2017, prior to being demolished to make way for a new facility combining church activities and housing.
Always supported by eager community volunteers for setting-up, staging and serving the meals, and transportation of participants to and from the venue, the event also relies on sponsorship and donations for the hard costs of food and supplies.
That has led to some challenges in presenting the event this year, particularly in light of rising costs, resulting in a call for community sponsors to step up.
But Hagerman said that – like the other organizers in whose footsteps he follows – he has no doubt that the wherewithal and general goodwill will align in good time for the dinner.
“It’s a tribute to the generosity in our community that this event continues to this day,” Hagerman said.
To register to attend, call 778-879-8394.