Free Souris Christmas dinner awaits approval from Public Health

·2 min read

The annual free Souris Christmas dinner is planning to go ahead this year with several COVID-19 measures in place, as long as it gets the green light from P.E.I.'s Chief Public Health Office.

"We feel there is more of a need than ever this year to make sure that we host our Christmas dinner in the community," said Melvin Ford.

"We feel this is, this is vital. This is something we have to do."

Ford, who started the tradition, said the event is planned by himself and a couple of other people. But this year, he asked about a half-dozen volunteers to help out.

Sarah MacMillan/CBC
Sarah MacMillan/CBC

"The whole dinner used to be where we wanted people to get out of their homes and come and enjoy a social time at the hall and be together," he said.

"With COVID, we know that that can't happen."

Ford said they have changed the format in hopes of getting it approved by the CPHO.

This year, he said the organizing committee will contact seniors homes and those who they think might be in need. On Christmas Day, there will be about 17 drivers who pick up the prepared meals from St. Marys Hall and deliver them.

"They'll call us when they arrive, tell us that they're coming," said Ford. "They'll have a list of names of people that are in each community that this person is going to look after."

We want to make sure nobody gets forgotten and it's something I'll do until the day I die. - Melvin Ford

The meals will be dropped off at people's doors, thereby ensuring a contactless delivery.

Last year, Ford said they had around 70 people volunteer on Christmas to help. And while things are expected to look a little different this time around, he said it's important for no one to feel alone on Christmas Day.

"There's just so much that has happened this year. This is the time for more goodwill than anything," he said.

"We want to make sure nobody gets forgotten and it's something I'll do until the day I die."

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