New Life ready for annual Christmas dinner

By Chad Klassen
December 23, 2015 - 5:13pm

KAMLOOPS — The turkeys are being stuffed, the potatoes being mashed,  and the tables are being set at New Life Community Kamloops for its annual Christmas dinner, which happens Thursday afternoon.

Thanks to generous donations and volunteers from the community, the New Life is able to host such gathering for people in the city that've fallen on hard times.

"Everyone's so nice and it's nice to give back and to help other people with meals, and make sure they're fed during the holidays, too," says New Life volunteer April Read, who's helped with the Christmas Eve dinner for the past four years. 

The meal, which includes 26 turkeys, will feed to over 100 people that'll come through the doors, starting at 1:00 on Thursday at New Life Community Kamloops on West Victoria Street. 

"Full turkey dinner," says New Life Executive Director Stan Dueck. "There will be turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, there will be the cranberry sauce, I'm sure pumpkin pie. It'll be the full sit-down turkey dinner."

People like Chris Hiscock, who been leaning on New Life for the past three months, is looking forward to enjoying a family-style Christmas. 

"The hospitality, the people here are very welcoming, they're very warming, and the food here is absolutely delicious," says Hiscock. "Just to come, sit down with friends, people that are around, and have a good meal."

Hiscock has recently fallen on hard times with the fall in oil prices, laid off after working in the oil and gas industry for over a decade. He's thankful he has a place like this to turn to.

"This is an absolute blessing because a lot of people are on the streets," he says. "You can have a warm meal, and people in the office are there to help you. [There's] the thrift store if you need anything from there: furniture, clothing."

Jay Prince, who's been in Kamloops only for a few months after moving from Fort St. James, will also be joining the New Life for Christmas dinner tomorrow. He hasn't been able to find work as a carpenter.

"They're such awesome people. I came here, I never had a gift in a couple years and they gave me a gift. They've really helped me out," says Prince, while sheding a tear. 

This kind of inclusion has always been what New Life is all about, especially around the Christmas season. But it's become even more so since a simple name-change to New Life Community Kamloops about a month ago.

"The community piece, it isn't just about the people we serve, it's about the entire community getting involved in what we do, and that's happening," says Dueck. "We're seeing it in the donations and the stuff that's coming in our door. We're seeing it in some of the groups that are coming in to help serve meals. What we wanted to achieve was, just to let everyone know we're open and part of this community."  

But as New Life winds down its Christmas campaign, the organization's biggest fundraiser, it's still short of its $120,000. 

Financial contributions and donations of food and clothing can be dropped off at the New Life any time.  

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