Break­ing bread in Bar­rie

Hun­dreds give thanks dur­ing an­nual Rosie’s Free Com­mu­nity Din­ner on Mon­day

The Barrie Examiner - - FRONT PAGE - IAN MCINROY

Rob Mor­ris knows what it’s like to face hard­ship.

But that doesn’t keep him from smil­ing.

Mor­ris was one of hun­dreds of peo­ple who found fa­mil­iar faces and good times at Rosie’s Free Com­mu­nity Din­ner on Mon­day.

Or­ga­nized by Rose Romita, the Thanks­giv­ing din­ner was held at the for­mer Cen­tral United Church down­town.

It was an op­por­tu­nity for the city’s dis­ad­van­taged to sit sideby-side with vol­un­teers along with peo­ple who do­nated food and share in the car­ing spirit of the day.

“I know a lot of the peo­ple here today,” said Mor­ris, a for­mer chef who lost his sight due to a drunk driver sev­eral years ago.

“I don’t have any im­me­di­ate family any­more but this is my family to me,” he said look­ing around the park­ing lot out­side the church. “They are very grate­ful for this din­ner.”

Peo­ple shouldn’t be sad­dled with the is­sues they’ve had in the past, Mor­ris said.

“Here, we’re treated like hu­man be­ings,” he said. “I have the ut­most re­spect for street peo­ple. They will give you the shirt off their backs.”

Mark Lan­ning knows how im­por­tant it is to give back on Thanks­giv­ing Day.

Lan­ning do­nated $500 worth of turkey and $100 worth of pop to Romita’s an­nual din­ner in mem­ory of his par­ents who re­cently passed away.

“Mom liked to help peo­ple when she could and dad would also see this as a very good cause,” he said out­side the for­mer church .“But I also came to have some turkey. Many of the peo­ple here today maybe don’ t get a chance to have a Thanks­giv­ing din­ner.

“They may not al­ways be able to get a good meal, but they are today.”

The com­mu­nity’s dis­ad­van­taged de­serve help when they can get it, Lan­ning added.

“They all need a hand up, as op­posed to a hand out,” he said.

Bon­nie Crosson was of more than 150 vol­un­teers from all walks of life who made Romita’s feast a suc­cess.

“I’m here to help oth­ers and give back to the com­mu­nity,” she said while greet­ing vis­i­tors the church’s base­ment. “It’s for peo­ple who don’t have family or any­body who doesn’t have some­one to cel­e­brate Thanks­giv­ing with.”

Jackie Pen­fold was also do­ing her part.

“I was abused when I was young and I’ll al­ways give ev­ery last penny I have to help those who need a hand,” she said.

Mor­ris said it’s all about be­ing pos­i­tive.

“It’s amaz­ing to know that peo­ple in the com­mu­nity like Rosie really do care,” he said. “It’s a beau­ti­ful feel­ing.”


Rosie's Free Com­mu­nity Din­ner was once again held on Thanks­giv­ing Day Mon­day at the for­mer Cen­tral United Church from noon un­til 6 p.m. Vol­un­teer Steve Bradley was happy to serve up fel­low vol­un­teer Diane Striker along with hun­dreds of other peo­ple tak­ing part in Rose Romita's an­nual event.


Rob Mor­ris was happy to be a part of Rosie’s Free Com­mu­nity Din­ner held on Thanks­giv­ing Day Mon­day at the for­mer Cen­tral United Church.

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