Breaking bread in Barrie
Hundreds give thanks during annual Rosie’s Free Community Dinner on Monday
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.