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Dinner plans for those alone at Christmas

Veronica MacDonald would love to tell you about a pair of Good Samaritans in Waterloo.

Last year the two women and their families served a full Christmas meal to 40 people from the region who would otherwise have spent Christmas alone. They decorated their restaurant, cooked a delicious meal and sent their guests home with small ornaments and gifts before sitting down to their own Christmas dinner. This year they’re doing it again and serving 60 people.

MacDonald would love to tell everyone who they are, but they insist on remaining anonymous.

“It’s really the true spirit of Christmas,” said the executive director of Community Care Concepts. “It’s the family that does it, they do the cooking, they do the preparing, they do the cleaning up. They want no recognition, they’re not staffing it out, and then they enjoy their dinner afterward.”

The dinner isn’t restricted to people living on low incomes. It’s for those who will be alone at Christmas: adults with disabilities, people whose spouses have died or couples whose children won’t be around for Christmas.

“It has nothing to do with income. What it has to do with is the fact that they will be alone over Christmas,” MacDonald said.

The only group that they’re not serving is children and youth, a group that is already well served by other organizations.

“That’s really well served in the community by Woolwich Community Services. They’re fabulous at that type of service, so they take care of the children’s programs.”

MacDonald joined them for dinner last year, and said it’s a wonderful meal: the restaurant is decorated, Christmas lights are on, and there are carols playing.

“It really is beautifully cooked, well-presented. I think they must have had half a dozen different types of dessert last year.”

MacDonald can’t give out their names, but people interested in joining them for dinner can contact her at CCC.

MacDonald said the only glitch in the whole plan is transportation. Staff at CCC don’t work Christmas Day, and their volunteers are enjoying their own Christmas dinners.

“Transportation in a rural area is always a challenge, but Christmas day it is a bit more than the normal challenge for us.”

“If we had people that would be interested in going, they could connect with me at CCC and we could see if maybe there wasn’t some carpooling or some joint travel time [we can work out].”

MacDonald said she doesn’t know exactly why the two women postpone their own Christmas dinner to serve others first, but she has an idea.

“I can’t be certain, but I have the feeling that maybe they did not have as rich a background in their youth and they’re looking to make sure that other people have that rich fulfilling Christmas experience. That would be my guess.”

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