The gift bags are filled and the hams are ready to go in the oven. Now, all that is needed at Penticton's Victory Church is for for people to show up for the community Christmas dinner Wednesday night.
Pastor Trevor Hoffman has no doubt they will come, ready to share stories, visit and dine on the ham with all the fixings. In fact, for days leading up to the dinner, community members have dropped by to tell the pastor they plan to attend and who they will be bringing with them.
"We are a downtown church, so we are always aware of the need with the Soupateria only a block away," said Hoffman. "So whatever we can do to give back helps, because when you give it is received."
The church has held dinners for its congregation in the past. Last year, they decided to open their doors to the community for the first time.
As word spread about the free feast, Safeway and other local stores pitched in gift cards, the congregation came through with the food, and chefs prepared it in the kitchen at nearby Charles Manor.
"I thought it was a brilliant idea for those who don't have the means to prepare a Christmas dinner for themselves," said John Brigden, executive chef at Charles Manor.
On the night of the first dinner 125 people showed up, and there was still plenty of food left to giveaway at the end.
"It was really an overwhelming affair, with so many people from different walks of life," said Hoffman. "I just wish we could do this every week of the year."
Doors at the church at 352 Winnipeg Street open at 5:30 p.m. Seating will be available on a first-come, first served basis.