By Brandon Mayer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
A free Christmas turkey dinner will be provided at Winchester United Church on Christmas Day, December 25, from 12pm to 2pm. The free Christmas dinner is an annual tradition that has been going on for about 10 years, though last year was missed due to health concerns brought on by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. This year’s dinner will offer a takeout option and also a limited availability for dine-in for those who can show proof of full vaccination from COVID-19, provided that pandemic restrictions don’t tighten beforehand.
Heather Rose is a member of Winchester United Church and is responsible for coordinating this year’s dinner. When asked the tough question of why the Church provides the free meal every year, Heather joked, “The quick answer is why not!” She continued, “It’s obviously an important time of year and it’s a great opportunity to do some outreach to the community. Anybody and everybody has come in the past such as those who were alone and came with other friends, or individuals who came by themselves and sat at tables where they had the opportunity to share a meal and some great conversation on Christmas Day. So really, our hope is that we can share a lot of joy with people and have the opportunity for anyone and everyone to come and enjoy a nutritious meal and, hopefully, also warm their heart with just the sharing of friendship and good conversation.”
The meal is not necessarily planned as an event for the less fortunate, but is rather a community-minded event. Heather shared the story of going out to buy the turkeys for the meal, when a fellow shopper commented that she must be having quite the party, given all the turkeys she was buying. When Heather revealed what the turkeys were for, the woman told her that she had seen the poster for the free meal and had been thinking of attending. These types of outreach opportunities are what make it worthwhile to put on the free meal every year.
While Heather is the event’s coordinator, she also extended credit to Christine Lowson, who is the Minister at the Church. Christine is very involved on the day of the meal, but is also instrumental in many of the Church’s other outreach activities as well.
All are welcome to attend the meal. Those who plan on attending are asked to reserve their meal by calling 613-774-2512.