RUSTICO, P.E.I. - When the Cymbria Lions Club started its annual turkey dinner 42 years ago, it was to fundraise for the club’s needed expenses.
The dinner has since transformed into a fundraiser that gives back to the community.
“Part of donations go to medical expenses for people travelling off-Island, or they go to people in need in the community that are down and out or need an extra hand for medical reasons,” said club president Michael Gallant.
Plates heaping with mashed potatoes, hot turkey, and “all the fixings” were served once again for the 42nd annual roast turkey dinner at the club on Saturday, Oct. 6.
This year’s event raised $7,500, which will go to charitable organizations like the CNIB and to people in need.
Gallant said the turkey dinner sells out every year. This year, the club prepared for 480 plates.
The supper was the last event for the club’s annual Thanksgiving Festival, which started Oct. 4.
The festival also included a bingo, a poker tournament, and a car rally. The turkey dinner is the festival’s main draw.
“It’s wonderful that there’s an organization in a community like this that can give back to people that are in need or for anything that they’re always there to do something.”
Joan Dalziel of Rustico went to the supper for her second helping of turkey dinner for the day.
“I’ve already been out for dinner. I’m here for my supper,” she said.
She started going to the turkey supper a couple of years ago after her children moved away.
She said she goes to support the Lions club and the cause of giving to others.
“It’s wonderful that there’s an organization in a community like this that can give back to people that are in need or for anything that they’re always there to do something,” she said.
Getting their first taste of Canadian Thanksgiving were tourists Joshua Rector and Alisha Steele from Nebraska.
The pair decided to seek out an Island Thanksgiving event when they realized they would get a double dose of Thanksgiving this year, since the holiday is celebrated Nov. 22 in the United States.
“We wanted to do some community engagement and experience what it was like here for Thanksgiving-related events,” said Rector.
He said the dinner is similar to back home.
“I’m a big fan of it,” said Rector. “It actually reminds me a lot of rural Nebraska, except it’s in the Maritimes."