(ISN) – Brandon, MB. – Organizers of the Westman and Area Traditional Christmas Dinner hope that a change in venue and some additional support from the Brandon Wheat Kings, Heritage Co-op and the Brandon Sun, will help breathe some new life into what has become a holiday tradition in the city.
The dinner, which is marking its 30th year of providing warm meals to less-fortunate families on Christmas, sent out a plea for new venue earlier this year and the Victoria Inn came calling.
With news that it lost $3,000 in 2013, local organizers weren’t sure that they would be able to afford to host another one this Christmas. However, Brent Miller and the Victoria Inn stepped up and local partners such as Heritage Co-op and the Brandon Sun have teamed up with Brandon’s Western Hockey League club to help put the event on solid ground.
Fans attending this Sunday’s WHL game at Westman Place between the Wheat Kings and visiting Red Deer Rebels are being encouraged to bring a non perishable food item or new unwrapped toy to the game. All toys and food will then be donated to the dinner, which served close to four thousand meals last year.
“The Westman Traditional Christmas Dinner continues to be a very special event supported by the community, and by the Heritage Co-op,” says General Manager Lorne Zacharias. “During the hustle and bustle of this Christmas season, let’s take time to think about people around us and to support this great tradition. The Dinner depends on all of us, so please help by bringing a non-perishable food item or new unwrapped toy to the game on Sunday – and let’s make Christmas a special time for everyone!”
Secretary-treasurer Tammy Waterfield says that without the generosity of such partners, this year’s dinner was in jeopardy. Waterfield says that it’s a diverse group that is served each year – from the homeless and families in need to seniors and students, who don’t have relatives in the area.
“It wouldn’t be a good thing to be alone on Christmas Day,” Waterfield recently told the Sun. “No one should be alone on Christmas and it’s a great way to come out and have fellowship with other people.”
This year marks the 30th year for the Westman & Area Traditional Christmas Dinner. The first one, which was organized by former Wheat King head coach Rocky Addison, was attended by thirty people and was held in a small church at the corner of 8th Street and Victoria Avenue. It had been held at the Keystone Centre for the past decade.
Because of its history and the service that it provides western Manitobans, Sun Sales Manager Glen Parker says that it seemed only fitting to become involved this year.
“Brandon Sun is thrilled to be able to help out with this year’s Westman Traditional Christmas Dinner,” says Parker. “We urge everyone planning to attend this Sunday’s game to bring along an item for donation. Every item donated will help ensure this magnificent tradition can continue for another 30 years.”
In addition to Sunday’s game, which is a 4pm start at Westman Place, the organization is accepting monetary donations, as well as turkeys, hams and toys this week and next. For more information call 204-728-7987 or visit www.christmasdinner.com
In appreciation of their donations at Sunday’s game, Heritage Co-op and the Sun have produced full color Wheat Kings 2015 Poster Calendars that will be distributed to the first 2,500 fans in attendance.
Tickets to Sunday afternoon’s game are on sale now at the Keystone Centre box office, by calling 726-3555 or online at keystonecentre.com