Community Christmas Dinner drive thru feeds hundreds in Terrace

·2 min read

The Kermode Friendship Society and the Gitlaxdax Nisga’a Terrace Society treated people to a drive-through Christmas dinner on Dec. 10.

“This is a combined effort to make sure we include everyone, everyone in the Terrace area and our service area that we can to share a meal with them. Pandemic restrictions have changed how we interact with our community but it does not mean that we should stop,” said Ben Haizimsque, Gitlaxdax Nisga’a Terrace Society chief executive officer.

Over 700 people registered for the Community Christmas Dinner at 4714 Park Ave. Organizers also dropped off dinners to around 50 households in the area that were without transportation.

Pre-registered vehicles drove through the Kermode Friendship Society parking lot and a masked Santa passed bagged food through car windows. Drivers were also greeted by a dancing Kody Kermode mascot and holiday music. Inside, staff members packaged dinners into take-out containers.

Cal Albright, Kermode Friendship Society executive director, said that the society has been offering an annual Christmas dinner for 15 years. Last year’s sit-down meal at the Terrace Sportsplex fed around 400 people.

“There’s a lot of stress in the community because of COVID and a lot of anxiety, so we’ve had lots of involvement, we’ve almost doubled our amount this year,” he said.

“We are all wearing masks, we are all following the procedures and you know this is the way you have to adapt under the circumstances and I think we are doing a really good job.”

The drive-through started at 3:30 p.m., with people scheduled to arrive during half-hour time slots. Some Kermode Friendship staff began preparing over 30 turkeys and hams the previous day, and some arrived at 5:00 a.m. on Dec. 10 to prepare for the dinner. Albright said that the event took about six months to plan and involved around 60 staff members.

“We know that people feel good about it and we take care of one another, that’s part of who we are,” he said. “We just went out and got it done, and here we are, it’s a success.”

“I want to thank Gitlaxdax, certainly having a partner like them step up and work with Kermode has made sure that our relations in town whether you are First Nations or otherwise, you could come and enjoy Christmas the best way we can under the circumstances.”

Ben Bogstie, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Interior News