Minto couple organizing dinner to provide fellowship at Christmas

No one in this community needs to spend Christmas Day alone.

Local residents Jean and David Anderson are organizing a community Christmas dinner on Dec. 25.

“It’s open to all comers, anyone who has nowhere to go,” said Jean.

The open invitation includes people who may have a Christmas celebration to go to on a day other than Dec. 25, or singles or couples who find it impractical to cook a holiday meal for one or two people.

“But primarily it’s for people who have no family close by, no family who can get to them, or no family,” Jean noted, stressing the celebration is about social, not financial situations.

“It’s not a soup kitchen. It’s just an opportunity for people to have fellowship and have a meal with other people … or to have a good nutritious meal if they’re living alone rather than having tea and toast,” she explained.

“I don’t care if they’re leaving a turkey uneaten in the fridge in order to come, it’s just a time of fellowship, for people to be together.”

A registered nurse and Town of Minto councillor, Jean notes her family does not hold its Christmas celebration on Dec. 25, and she has chosen for many years to “serve the public on Christmas Day.”

When not scheduled to work at the local hospital, she has often volunteered to take the shift so others could be with their families.

Part of her motivation for hosting a community celebration, came from her experiences serving Meals on Wheels at holiday time.

“That just broke my heart. You go into some of those apartments and there’s this little table with a place setting for one,” she recalls.

The Andersons are planning to prepare the meal themselves, with the help of anyone who wants to volunteer. They are also prepared to fund the entire party, but will accept donations if people wish to give.

“If they want to help, feel free … We’re happy to have help but otherwise we’ll just do it ourselves,” said Jean, who hopes to make the community celebration an annual event.

The Andersons aren’t sure how many to expect for the inaugural dinner, which will be held at 1pm on Dec. 25 at the Harriston-Minto Community Centre.

“That’s why it’s imperative that people contact us, to give us an idea,” said David, who runs the Harriston Service Ontario office and is Wellington County councillor for Ward 1.

“There’s no limit from our perspective, it’s just a matter of if they could let us know so we could be prepared for that number of people,” Jean added.

Anyone interested in attending the event, volunteering or donating is encouraged to contact Jean at 519-505-5914 or

David said anyone who knows of someone who might like to attend is encouraged to let them know about the event – or contact the Andersons, who will also be reaching out to local churches and service groups to spread the word.

“If people need rides, if they would let us know we’ll see what we can do to organize rides,” said Jean, adding they will also make efforts to accommodate shut-ins if requested.