© Submitted photo
Layla O'Brien sings a duet with her father, singer-songwriter Barry O'Brien, during the Christmas dinner at the Kings Playhouse in Georgetown in 2015.
Three weeks after posting a notice on Facebook inviting people to join him for Christmas dinner at the Kings Playhouse in Georgetown, Melvin Ford is smiling.
Not only did people come to dine on Dec. 25, they brought along their festive spirit.
"It was an incredible day. Barry O'Brien came and performed for a couple of hours. Haley Zavo also played the piano. And, with the help of volunteers, we fed between 125 and 130 people," says Ford, during a telephone interview.
Besides feasting on turkey with all the trimmings and dessert, there were plenty of surprises for the guests.
"We got a surprise visit from Lt.-Gov. Frank Lewis who dropped by to volunteer and brought along chocolates for everybody. It was a nice addition.
"People also brought treats, just like they had been invited to someone's house for dinner."
Over the course of three hours, visitors were seated and served.
"We started serving at 11 a.m. but there were people actually there at 10:30. Most of them stayed for an hour and a half. And, when it was over, everybody raved about the beautiful meal and the bags of candy they got to take away."
The dinner will become an annual event.
"The response was overwhelming and everyone who volunteered committed to coming back next year and doing it again," says Ford.
"People came from as far away as Summerside."
Another free Christmas dinner in Montague attracted and fed about 125 people.
“It was great time….we had lots of help, many laughs, and good conversation,’’ said organizer Anne Vandonkersgoed. “Everyone was so glad to be part of it.”
That free dinner has been held at the Montague Bible Fellowship for the last two years, after being hosted for several years at Sir Isaac’s restaurant by Anne Dewar.