Love and generosity were on the menu of Charlottetown’s soup kitchen this Christmas.
Volunteers served up some Christmas spirit at the Upper Room Hospitality Ministry Soup Kitchen, with about 20 volunteers preparing a traditional turkey dinner with all the fixings for an estimated 130 clients.
“I just like to see people are actually having a nice Christmas dinner,” said volunteer Shari Bailey.
However, it was much more than just a meal.
Volunteers also decorated the soup kitchen for the festive occasion, with live music during the meal and a gift given to everyone who attended.
“There’s great Christmas spirit here,” said Yanira Greener, who was in her second year volunteering on the holiday. “It’s just a fantastic, cheerful time.”
Even though they were volunteering, helping prepare the meal and decorating the venue became a family event for some.
Teresa Mitchell, who volunteers at the kitchen on a regular basis, brought her daughter along to help.
“I thought it would be great for her to see what goes on here,” said Mitchell. “You get a whole new perspective.”
For other volunteers like James Mosher, the event embodied the true spirit of Christmas in an age that has seen the holiday become “too commercialized.”
Mosher, who spent about 24 years living out west, said he began volunteering at the kitchen after returning to P.E.I. this fall.
Mosher knows how important the service is and said there were times when he relied on soup kitchens while living out west.
“I’ve been on the other side of it… It’s not about classification, people are people and we all end up in different situations. You have to respect that any one of us could be in need of something like this at any given time,” said Mosher, who praised his fellow volunteers. “If it wasn’t for volunteers, where would these organizations be?”
Soup kitchen manager Tammy MacKinnon said she was thrilled to see so many volunteers on Christmas, noting that many called her over a month ago to say they were interested in helping out.
“That’s how anxious they were to come and help, I love that,” said MacKinnon.
MacKinnon said for many of the Soup Kitchen’s clients, the meal would be their Christmas dinner.
That’s why volunteers aimed to make the dinner as festive as possible.
“I think every single volunteer is just really, really willing and happy to do that,” said MacKinnon, who also thanked the many individuals who donated to the dinner.
Apart from volunteers giving their time, MacKinnon said everything from the centre pieces, table clothes and napkins to chocolate, candy canes and gifts were donated.
“So many people came together to make this happen. I love that,” she said.