Diana Laflamme has answered the call to take on the role of co-coordinator of St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church’s Christmas Day dinner.
It was an offer she couldn’t refuse.
“Father Lawrence Donnelly said we needed someone to coordinate the dinner,” Laflamme related.
She didn’t volunteer for the position right away.
A week later, he asked again, “we really need someone to coordinate the dinner – someone who likes to organize and is bossy. You know who you are; God wants you.”
Laflamme, who is coordinating the event along with Eugene Villanueva, chuckled, “I thought… it’s me… organized and bossy.”
The free dinner in its 23rd year in the church at 20676 Fraser Hwy., and is open to anyone who is alone, or feels lonely on Dec. 25.
The dinner is at 5 p.m. with the doors opening at 4 p.m. for fellowship and refreshments.
“The premise is to feed the homeless but also to feed those who don’t have family, as well as seniors… all who feel they have the need.” Laflamme said. “They’ll have their Christmas dinner and some fellowship.”
Dinner is just part of the event.
There will be entertainment during the meal.
Much of the meal is being paid for out of the parishioners’ own pockets, by food donation or service. Fifteen turkeys and eight to 10 hams are being cooked for the dinner, along with all the trimmings.
Laflamme is amazed by the amount of food and donations received for the dinner, and by the number of volunteers who have stepped forward.
“They are everything,” she said. “I couldn’t do this without volunteers or donations. It’s taught me that I can’t do it all by myself; I need people to help me.”
Roughly 25 people have volunteered as servers, said Laflamme, who added that other churches as well as people from outside the community have offered their assistance.
“That’s what we’re supposed to be aiming for during the Christmas season, is fellowship with each other, every denomination, every race – everyone,” she said.
Laflamme said Rev. James Kairu plans to help out as part of the dishwashing team.
Monetary donations are appreciated. They can be made directly at St. Joseph’s from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday. Note that the church office is closed from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.
Transportation can be arranged for those who can’t make it there on their own, by calling 604-534-3303.