FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – On Christmas Day spirits were bright as community members came together to share in a Christmas dinner at the Salvation Army. The event was organized by the Salvation Army and enlisted the help of volunteers from throughout the community. Sheldon Feener administer at the Salvation Army explained, “we couldn’t do it without them they’ve been phenomenal. It’s incredible that people have given a portion of their Christmas day to help those who may not have been able to have a Christmas.”
Volunteers admitted that they got an awful lot out of being a part of the event as well. Brandon Lowes said, “we wanted to give back to the community because we’ve had a good year and we know some people haven’t.” Wynnette Lowes agreed and added, “It’s also almost for selfish reasons because you know what? It just makes you feel great helping out.”
The dinner was open to the community with approximately 80 free tickets spread out at different locations around town. When questioned on why it was so important to have a dinner like this, Feener explained, “because it’s Christmas and it’s something that sometimes we take for granted, but there are so many people in our community that don’t get to take part in Christmas dinner which is heart breaking so its really neat that we are able to do this and see the support we’ve had.” Feener explained that in addition to volunteers all of the food served was supplied by donations from local businesses and community members.
When questioned on the need in the community this year, Feener admitted, “It has been tough, we’ve seen our numbers grow consistently with the down turn in the economy and the way that the oil and gas industry has been hit. It’s devastating to see people that you usually wouldn’t think would have to use the food bank or our facilities relying on us.”
Thankfully, Feener pointed out that despite the down turn donations have not cut back; although they still have to count the proceeds raised in Christmas kettles over the past two days, he was proud to say that donations were already above where they were last year. The Huskies Fill the Bus Food Drive also saw an increase from 24000 pounds of food last year to almost 30000 this year.
Feener proudly exclaimed, “That just goes to speak to the nature of this community; the need is higher and the giving is there to match it, this is just such a great community.”