Volunteer Moe Tremblay has been helping prepare the annual Christmas dinner at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church for 15 years.
On Christmas Eve, he joined about a dozen other people in the Langley church kitchen to peel potatoes, chop carrots and do other prep work for a dinner that was expected to feed 250 to 300 people.
Why does he do it?
“Because it says in the Bible, you’ve got to feed the hungry,” Tremblay explained, as he lugged a giant pot full of peeled and chopped potatoes onto the stove.
Tremblay said there are different types of hunger, including a hunger for social connection that the dinner also feeds.
Another volunteer, Kathy Gendron, was working on three different types of cranberry sauce, “plain, pomegranate and orange spice.”
A quick taste test determined the plain sauce was just right.
“Not too sweet,” Gendron said, giving it a thumbs-up.
Initial preparations for the annual dinner began in early November, with parish members and community volunteers working to coordinate donated food, drinks and serving supplies.
Many were in the kitchen cooking Christmas morning while others helped serve the feast.
Besides a proper Christmas meal with all the trimmings, attendees came away with hand-knitted mitts and scarves, knitted by parishioners.
“It takes a lot of work to put it together,” Deacon Dan Ritchie said.
Ritchie said the dinner, now in its 26th year, got started by father Joe Ponti, who launched it as part of “Joe’s back door kitchen.”