By Matthew Liebenberg
The community Christmas dinner in Swift Current is returning to an in-person format while still offering the option of meal delivery.
The City of Swift Current is again partnering with SwiftLink, a group of caring community members, to provide the community Christmas dinner.
“We took it over in 2020 when COVID hit,” “City Community Recreation Coordinator Krista Caswell said. “So we were happy to make sure that the community Christmas dinner continued during the pandemic and for this year as well.”
There was only a meal delivery option for the past two years due to the pandemic. Volunteers delivered a total of 350 Christmas meals to community members in 2021.
“We are so happy with everything that happened last year and we are so thrilled to be able to provide the Christmas dinner again to our community, as we all know that there are people that struggle in our community,” she said.
The same number of free meals will be offered for the 2022 festive season, but it will be provided through a hybrid format.
A sit-down meal will be provided to 100 individuals at the Salvation Army on Dec. 21 at 5:30 p.m. The alternative is delivered meals on Dec. 24, which will provide 250 meals to community members.
She noted the two options will cater for the different needs of individuals who want to enjoy a meal offered through the community Christmas initiative.
“We wanted to be able to provide the meal for those who want to get together with other community members, but also be able to provide the meal for those that feel safer at home or they are unable to leave their residence and they would like the meal at their home,” she said.
The feedback about last year’s delivered Christmas meal indicated it is a convenient option to many people for various reasons.
“They appreciated that as either their health wasn’t good enough to get out, they didn’t have transportation or it was daunting for a young family to get their kids bundled up to take them to a meal,” she said. “Whereas to be able to have the meal come to their home, they were able to sit at their table and their safe space. So we wanted to still provide that, but also have the option for those who like to interact with others and come out as a community.”
Pre-registration is required for both options and the registration deadline is Dec. 15. Registration can be done online on the City of Swift Current website at http://www.swiftcurrent.ca/xmasdinner or by calling City Community Services at 306-778-2787.
Both options will provide a traditional Christmas style meal prepared by Connie Wiebe from Country Hills Catering.
“She came on board again,” Caswell said. “We would not be able to provide the meal without our cook. … This year we’re having a ham meal with potatoes and vegetables and buns and deserts.”
It will not be possible to provide the community Christmas dinner at no cost without the support of various partners and sponsors that help to make the event a success. Their contributions vary from financial support to volunteering their services to package the meals.
Interested businesses and individuals can support the community Christmas dinner by providing gifts that will be used as door prizes for community meal members. Please call or text 306-741-0112.
Volunteers are an important part of the process, because they will help to deliver meals on Dec. 24 from 2-4 p.m.
“We would not be able to get those meals out to all the residents without the volunteers,” she said. “The delivery volunteers are very important.”
There is a need for 20 or more volunteers to do the meal deliveries. Each volunteer will get a certain number of meals to deliver in a specific area of the city, which means it can be done relatively quickly.
“The delivery only took about 15 minutes for our community groups that went out to deliver the meals,” she said about last year’s process. “It’s quick and easy for them to get out of the house, do a feel good, and then go back home and celebrate their Christmas with their families.”
Anyone interested in volunteering to do meal deliveries on Dec. 24 can call 306-778-2787 or send an e-mail to: email@example.com