More than 200 show up in Courtenay for annual community Christmas dinner

More than 200 show up in Courtenay for annual community Christmas dinner

In 1982, Mr. Earl Naswell went door-to-door to local businesses, asking for help to provide a Christmas dinner for himself and about a dozen friends who were, in Naswell’s words, “a bit down on their luck.”

The Comox Valley business community responded in droves, and a tradition was born.

On Monday, that tradition continued.

More than 200 people converged at the Florence Filberg Centre on Christmas Day for the Earl Naswell Community Christmas Dinner – an event organized for everyone who might not otherwise enjoy a full hot Christmas dinner.

“Plates were up a little bit this year,” said event co-ordinator Rob James. “We were up around 250 for the sit-down portion, and we handed out another 200 or so take-out meals. Last year the total, sit down and take-out, was around 400. So there were a lot of meals served this year. I would say we were almost at capacity. There were a few voids, and a few chairs empty, but not many.”

One reason for the increase was the shuttle service offered for the first time in 2017.

First Student Canada supplied a school bus and Ambassador Transport provided a 15-person passenger van, as pick-ups were arranged in Cumberland, Maple Pool Campground, Washington Inn Apartments and the Comox Legion.

“The one that went to Washington Inn picked up I think close to 20, so it definitely helped,” said James. “When I asked, at the beginning of the meal, how many first-timers there were, about 25 or 30 people put their hand up, so word is definitely getting out there.”

James estimated that approximately 50 volunteers showed up on Christmas Day to serve the lunch, and another 25-30 were at the Filberg on Christmas Eve, preparing the meal.

Organizers anticipated an increase in numbers, as extra food was brought in this year.

“We had between 20 and 50 per cent more of each food item this year,” said James. “We had 24 turkeys and 15 hams this year. Previously we had 21 turkeys and 11 hams. We brought in 150 pounds of potatoes, versus 100 last year. Carrots went to 60 pounds, from 40. (Brussels) sprouts went from 50 to 75 pounds.”

Organizers raised a total of approximately $3,500 to spend on the food. As it has been for 35 years, the majority of the money raised came from local businesses.

Santa and Mrs. Claus were on hand, with gifts for the children, and the largest ovation of the day came when Earl Naswell himself was introduced.

The leftover food was passed along to the Salvation Army for its Boxing Day dinner.

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

 

One volunteer exits the kitchen with two meals, while others line up for plates at the Earl Naswell Community Christmas Dinner, at the Florence Filberg Centre on Christmas Day. Photo by Terry Farrell

One volunteer exits the kitchen with two meals, while others line up for plates at the Earl Naswell Community Christmas Dinner, at the Florence Filberg Centre on Christmas Day. Photo by Terry Farrell

Santa and Mrs. Claus were on hand at the Earl Naswell Community Christmas Dinner. Photo by Terry Farrell

Santa and Mrs. Claus were on hand at the Earl Naswell Community Christmas Dinner. Photo by Terry Farrell

Earl Naswell (left) and Murray Coulter enjoy their Christmas dinner. Photo by Terry Farrell

Earl Naswell (left) and Murray Coulter enjoy their Christmas dinner. Photo by Terry Farrell

Just Posted

G.P. Vanier in Courtenay has six members of the community who have tested positive; Island Health identified seven staff and 78 students who will be required to self-isolate. Black Press file photo
SD71 identifies eight positive cases of COVID-19 and instructs 108 people to self-isolate

The letter noted that all who have tested positive did not contract COVID-19 within the school sites

Geoff Garbutt takes over as City of Courtenay CAO on April 14. Photo supplied
Courtenay council selects new city CAO

A new Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) will be joining the City of… Continue reading

Two vehicles collided Wednesday morning north of Courtenay on the Old Island Highway. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Two-car MVA north of Courtenay

Accident took place after 7 a.m. on the Old Island Highway

COVID cases in the Bella Coola Valley have dropped to just four active cases (file photo)
Comox Valley COVID spike the result of ‘a series of multiple social gatherings’

North Island Medical Health Officer Dr. Charmaine Enns says the recent spike… Continue reading

FILE – A COVID-19 vaccine being prepared. (Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing)
B.C. seniors 80 years and older to get COVID vaccine details over next 2 weeks: Henry

Province is expanding vaccine workforce as officials ramp up age-based rollout

Dr. Bonnie Henry talk about the next steps in B.C.'s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
456 new COVID-19 cases in B.C., 2 deaths

Since January 2020, 78,278 have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in B.C.

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

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)
Vaccinating essential workers before seniors in B.C. could save lives: experts

A new study says the switch could also save up to $230 million in provincial health-care costs

The Town of Comox will formally examine speeding within the town. Black Press file photo
Comox to examine speeding within town

Following discussions at various council meetings, Comox council will formally examine speeding… Continue reading

A male customer without a face mask is seen inside a Burnaby Canadian Tire amidst an altercation with store security and staff members. (Video/Screen grab)
VIDEO: Man arrested after allegedly punching Burnaby Canadian Tire staff over mask rule

Mounties received reports Monday of a customer having punched more than one employee

According to a new poll, a majority of Canadians want to see illicit drugs decriminalized. (THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Majority of Canadians think it’s high time to decriminalize illicit drugs: poll

More than two-times the B.C. residents know someone who died from an overdose compared to rest of Canada

Photograph By @KAYLAXANDERSON
VIDEO: Lynx grabs lunch in Kamloops

A lynx surprises a group of ducks and picks one off for lunch

A conceptual drawing of the preferred conveyance route for the Comox Valley Sewer Service.
Preferred conveyance route chosen for Comox Valley Sewer Service

The Comox Valley Sewage Commission approved a plan Tuesday to upgrade the… Continue reading

Most Read