Time to give thanks
Romita’s annual Thanksgiving dinner set for Monday at former church
Come for the turkey and, almost as important, the camaraderie.
For more than 20 years, Rose Romita has been hosting Rosie’s Free Community Dinner, which will be held on Monday at the former Central United Church, located at 54 Ross St.
The last sermon at the Ross Street church was held in June.
It’s a chance for folks who might be disadvantaged in some way to get a good, hot meal — seconds are allowed — but also a chance for everyone from every walk of life to sit down, talk and listen. And eat. This year Romita, along with her trusty band of more than 100 volunteers, will be cooking up 75 turkeys that will be served up along with all the fixings between noon and 6 p.m.
Those volunteers are vital to making the dinner happen, she said.
“They phone me and just show up,” she said. “Most of them are repeats and then there are new ones and some of them have helped me from the beginning.”
It’s “in their hearts”, Romita said.
“They give their time because they know it’s needed and some of them who are marginalized, or who have been, see the need,” she said. “They want to give back because some of them have needed help at some point.
“Now they are more settled in their lives and they want to give a hand up to people who need it.”
Along with all the birds, volunteers will be cooking up 300 pounds of potatoes and carrots.
As they have done so often in the past, Romita said many local businesses organizations are donating food.
“They are calling me up and asking what I need,” she said, adding she still needs desserts, fruit and pop.
Romita also got a hand for Monday’s event from Victoria Village, who purchased Central United Church in December of last year.
“Rose asked me if we could allow her to hold her Thanksgiving dinner there and after a quick talk with my team, they unanimously said we would absolutely support Rosie with her dinner,” said Victoria Village chief executive officer Sheri Maynard.
“Victoria Village is a community of caring and we’re good citizens,” Maynard said. “We’re thankful that we have all we have. We want to certainly extend that generosity to Rose while she is in transition and we’re able to do that.”
Romita said the (former) Central United Church space has been vital to the dinners over the years.
“I’m so glad they (Victoria village) let me use it again,” she said. “I’ll have to find another place for the Christmas and Easter dinners. It’s up in the air. When the time comes I’ll figure it out.
“Something always comes up. I have faith in this city and the businesses in it.”
To learn how you can help, call 705-796-7909.
Rose Romita is in the kitchen again, preparing to host her annual Free Community Dinner, which takes place Monday from noon until 6 p.m. at the former Central United Church on Ross Street.