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Kelowna  

Dinner for hundreds

Hundreds of smiling faces packed into the Parkinson Recreation Centre Friday night for the 12th annual Christmas Day Dinner.

The event, hosted by Victory Life Fellowship church, included live music, sing-alongs, gifts and, of course, a full meal for anyone that didn’t have a place to go on Christmas.

“We’re making sure that anyone who is alone at Christmas has a place to go,” said Diana Tripke, a pastor at Victory Life. “They get served on the fine china, the real dishes, to make them feel like they’re coming to Christmas dinner at your house. So that’s how they’re being treated tonight.”

The roughly 400 attendees at the dinner ranged from the very young to the very old, and families and single people sat around the table and mingled.

Tripke encouraged people to introduce themselves to those they were sitting with and get to know each other.

In addition to the meals served at the event, the organizers also put together 200 food gift bags for those who needed it to take home with them.

“It’s all through donations, from the community here and we have outside sources as well,” Tripke said. “We work hard to make sure it’s funded.”

The event is put on by 130 volunteers, who were bustling around serving the food, refilling drinks and making sure people were enjoying themselves.

Mickayla Matvieshen has been volunteering at the dinner for the past six years.

“You have your time with your family where you’re giving and getting but this is just giving and so you feel like you’re actually engaging with Christmas when you do something like this,” she said.

Tripke said putting on the dinner is very rewarding.

“We love giving back to the community,” she said. “We’ve been doing it for 12 years, so there is a place to go on Christmas Day.”

And with 12 dinners down, Tripke doesn’t see them stopping anytime soon.

“We just keep filling a need, so if there’s not a need we won’t do it.”

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