Annual collett christmas dinner a go on dec. 25
For the 26th year, a free Christmas dinner with all the trimmings will be served on December 25, at the Collins Hall on Hillside Drive, in Elliot Lake from 3 until 6:30 p.m.
This event was originally organized by Canadian artist, Richard Berghammer for those who were alone on Christmas Day. He had guests for Christmas dinner in his home.
He had originally started holding the Christmas dinner while living in southern Ontario. He took over the tradition of hosting the Christmas dinner from his parents John and Emily Berghammer. He recalled his parents had served up a Christmas dinner to whoever needed it when he was a little boy growing up in northern Saskatchewan.
In 2003, after Berghammer was too ill to host the Christmas dinner, Al and Penny Collett took over the project with the help of volunteers. They continued to hold this dinner at the Anglican Church hall every year until 2013.
The Christmas dinner was cancelled in 2014 because Al Collett was too ill to host it, and there was no time for others to take it over that year.
Sadly, Al Collett, who was a city councillor and deputy mayor and served our community for many years, died in July of 2015.
In Collett’s honour, a group of individuals took over hosting the Christmas dinner. Last year, over 350 meals were served and more than 50 volunteers participated.
Roland Aube, a member of that group, says the Christmas dinner is free for everyone. Many are alone at Christmas and would like to be in the company of others at that time of year.
“It’s not just for people who are in need. It’s also for people who want to share some community spirit.”
Aube says he has been practicing law in Elliot Lake for 40 years.
“I’ve been lucky. This community’s been good to me. I’ve had a pretty good life here, and this is the one thing I can do to bring people together and make them feel good.”
“Why do we do this? Because people need it.”
And Aube is not alone, there are other members of the group. in addition, the city has donated the use of the Collins Hall for this event. As in the past, community members and businesses have been very generous in their support and contributions to make this event possible and remain free.
Because of increased demand, there will be two sittings, one at 3 p.m. and one at 5 p.m. Everyone will be accommodated. A ticket is required to allow the organizers to better plan the event. Tickets are free of course and will be made available at various locations including Alpine Flowers in the Paris Plaza, The Salvation Army Thrift Shop and Roland Aube Law Office in the Upper Plaza. Groups of eight or more are invited to reserve a table when picking up tickets.
Transportation will be available to and from the Collins Hall for those who cannot drive themselves. Dinner may be delivered to shut-ins. Deliveries will begin around 4 p.m. Call ahead 705849-1294 for deliveries and pick up or for more information.