Canadian News Headlines – Edmonton volunteers ready to host hundreds for Christmas – Edmonton

Canadian news headlines

Volunteers in and around Edmonton are getting a head start on Christmas dinners by pre-cooking food and setting tables the day before Dec. 25. 

Elaine Dyrberg loves to help others at this time of year. She is one of many volunteers who helped get ready for two dinners that will feed more than 3,600 of Edmonton’s less fortunate on Monday. 

She pre-cooked 300 turkeys this month for Christmas dinners at Boyle Street Plaza and Boyle Street Community Services. Dyrberg also pre-makes the potatoes, gravy and other popular Christmas dinner side-dishes. 

Dyrberg is also the founder of Thrive Outreach, a non-profit that aims to help the homeless. She said it can be difficult for many at this time of year.

Elaine Dyrberg

Volunteer Elaine Dyrberg helps cook for a Christmas dinner for the less fortunate in Edmonton’s inner city. (CBC)

“They need to be shown that they are valued and loved, they belong to this community and that they matter to me,” she said.

She remembers when someone helped her in a time of need 10 years ago, and since then, she has given back by cooking for others. 

Community Christmas dinner a long-standing tradition

Dyrburg isn’t alone in helping others this holiday season.

Blackjacks Roadhouse restaurant owner Clarence Shields and his family have hosted a dinner for those alone at Christmas for the last 40 years. The tradition was spurred by Shields’ father, Jack, who loved giving back to people over the holidays. 

Shields continues the tradition at his restaurant in Nisku, south of Edmonton, where people of all ages go to enjoy a home-cooked meal.      

This year they’re expecting more than their typical 500 people at the Nisku restaurant on Monday, after owners of a nearby diner, the Nisku Truck Stop, decided not to host their annual Christmas dinner this year because of financial difficulties. 

Shields said they’re more than ready to host the extra patrons.

“For us, it’s important that everyone has a memorable Christmas and a sense of sharing. To me, that’s the real valuable part of this thing,” he said. 

Both Christmas dinners are free and open to anyone. The dinners in the inner city happen from 4 to 7 p.m.

The Christmas dinner buffet at Blackjacks Roadhouse is from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.



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