Coco's Cafe, others deliver Christmas dinners to 120 Jasperites

·2 min read

Extensive know-how, a dedicated team and a big-hearted commitment to the community: those characteristics were rolled into a big effort that put Christmas dinners on the table for 120 Jasperites, led by Lynn and Andrew Wannop, who own and operate Coco's Cafe.

Added to that was an order for Christmas dinners from a local business, as well as meals for the Wannops’ staff and their friends. In total, the culinary group made 164 Christmas dinners.

Lynn brainstormed with a buddy, Angie Wilson, about getting the Christmas dinner project going. Support was pulled in from many sources, including staff at Coco's and Community Family Services (CFS) who co-ordinated delivery lists for the Coco's volunteers.

"Everything was purchased from Jasper Fire and Ice; there were overwhelming donations from the business community through the Jasper Community Team Society," Lynn said.

Turkeys and vegetables were cooked four days before Dec. 25 to expedite production.

"Everything was prepped at Coco's," Lynn said. "We took it to the Activity Centre on Christmas Eve."

On Christmas Day, Lynn and daughter Alice arrived at the Activity Centre at noon to get started. Alice got busy washing dishes. Andrew and staff came at 2:30 p.m. to start portioning the food into containers.

"There was turkey, gravy, stuffing, mashed and sweet potatoes, beets and carrots, peas and corn, homemade cranberry sauce, and a piece of pie," Lynn said. "Someone… scooped vegetables, someone else cut pies, another was putting names on bags."

Coco's staff, outreach workers and Lynn's brother and sister-in-law used a total of ten vehicles to deliver the meals, starting at 3:10 p.m.

"All meals were delivered by about 4:45 p.m.," Lynn said.

Lynn, Andrew and her brother did the clean-up, including washing counters and floors, and returned the kitchen to exactly the shape it was in when they started.

"We were out of the Activity Centre by 6:30 p.m. to enjoy Christmas," she said. "I think 120 people is awesome. I wish I had done more turkey so people had leftovers, but everyone had turkey and all was good.

"It was so much fun."

Joanne McQuarrie, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Jasper Fitzhugh