More than 250 people attended the 2018 Earl Naswell Community Christmas Dinner, including the founder of the event, Earl Naswell (pictured, with Santa). The dinner is a free sit-down Christmas turkey dinner, open to everyone in the Comox Valley, and in particular, those who might not otherwise get a hot meal on Christmas Day. With take-out orders included, more than 500 meals were served. Photo by Terry Farrell

More than 250 people attended the 2018 Earl Naswell Community Christmas Dinner, including the founder of the event, Earl Naswell (pictured, with Santa). The dinner is a free sit-down Christmas turkey dinner, open to everyone in the Comox Valley, and in particular, those who might not otherwise get a hot meal on Christmas Day. With take-out orders included, more than 500 meals were served. Photo by Terry Farrell

PHOTOS: 2018 Earl Naswell Community Christmas Dinner

More than 250 people attended the annual event

The 2018 Earl Naswell Community Christmas Dinner, Dec. 25 at the Florence Filberg Centre, was one of the best attended in its 36-year history.

“There were easily over 250 people for dinner,” said co-ordinator Rob James as the event wound down. “We had to set up five extra tables and they filled up in no time at all.”

Volunteers were on hand since the morning of Dec. 24 to set up the hall and begin the cooking.

“We were here from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. yesterday, then back at 7 a.m. this morning, to get the ovens on and get things cooking,” said James. “Yesterday we had about 50 volunteers here to help with the set-up, putting out all the tables, chairs and all the decorating. Then there were another 20 or so doing all the peeling and that prep work in the kitchen.”

There were at least that many volunteers who showed up Christmas Day, to help cook, serve and clean up afterwards.

“There were a lot of people helping today,” said James. “But it looked like everyone was kept busy, so that was good.”

Including take-outs, more than 500 dinners were served.

Local grocery stores and bakeries provided the food, much of it donated.

“All the grocery stores and bakeries overwhelmed us again,” said James. “Then Costco surprised us with another truckload at about 10 o’clock last night; they brought over a whole bunch more desserts, fresh asparagus, and fresh-cut fruit with yogurt, which was a really nice addition.”

Volunteers started plating turkey dinners at noon, and everyone in attendance had a plate in front of them within 20 minutes.

There was even entertainment, courtesy of Luke Blu Guthrie, with accompaniment from Blair Bentley on drums and Shari Campbell on the flute.

It was the culmination of two months worth of preparation for James and his team.

“We start putting feelers out in early November, then the final two weeks before the event it really gets busy, with shopping and stuff.”

It was James’s 12th year co-ordinating the event, and he never tires of it.

“This is what Christmas is all about, for me,” he said.



terry.farrell@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Courtenay Nissan’s Matthew Bourassa, Geoff Piper and Sean LaFleur join YANA’s Ashley Smith, Kelly Rusk and Lisa Wilcox for the 4x4x48 event to raise funds. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Courtenay Nissan eats and runs for YANA

Dealership realized non-profit groups need new ways to raise funds during COVID

Rev. Sulin Milne at St. Peter’s Anglican Church in Comox is part of those helping distribute food to those in need within the town. Photo by Jim Peacock
Comox church serving the community with food through COVID-19

“We knew there were so many people who were facing economic challenges …”

Cole Moore with one of his sisters, Jasmin Moore. Photo supplied
Courtenay man looks to brain surgery for second chance

Cole Moore’s sister sets up GoFundMe to help father looking after brother

Comox Valley RCMP had access to 20 Street blocked off between Cousins and Choquette avenues as they conducted a raid of a house on the block. Photo by Terry Farrell
Nineteen people arrested, charges expected in Courtenay house raid

Investigators are continuing to comb through evidence seized

Demonstrators gathered Friday, March 5 at the Courtenay Court House, demanding protection of old-growth forests. Scott Stanfield photo
Concerned citizens march in Courtenay in name of old-growth rainforests

The Comox Valley is one of the B.C. communities engaged in mobilization… Continue reading

The James C Richardson Pipe Band marches in a Remembrance Day parade on Nov. 11, 2019 in Chilliwack. Wednesday, March 10 is International Bagpipe Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of March 7 to 13

International Bagpipe Day, Wash Your Nose Day and Kidney Day are all coming up this week

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Victoria man Brett Andersen is asking for people’s help to secure him one of eight free tickets to the moon. (Screenshot/@brettandersen Instagram)
Victoria man wants your help securing a free ticket to the moon

Japanese billionaire offering eight people a trip to the moon

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Donald Alan Sweet was once an all star CFL kicker who played for the Montreal Alouettes and Montreal Concordes over a 13-year career. Photo courtesy of Mission RCMP.
Ex-B.C. teacher who was CFL kicker charged with assault, sexual crimes against former students

Donald Sweet taught in Mission School District for 10 years, investigators seek further witnesses

(Black Press Media files)
Medicine gardens help Victoria’s Indigenous kids in care stay culturally connected

Traditional plants brought to the homes of Indigenous kids amid the COVID-19 pandemic

During a press event on March 6, Const. Alex Berube, media relations officer for the West Shore RCMP, addressed a deadly shooting that occurred in Metchosin the night before. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
VIDEO: One man shot dead in ‘targeted incident’ in Metchosin

Highway 14 reopens following multi-hour closure for investigation

Most Read