Community

Chilliwack Mission ready to serve two Christmas dinner sittings

Bill Raddatz (right), executive director at Ruth and Naomi
Bill Raddatz (right), executive director at Ruth and Naomi's, speaks with Stuart Rodgers at the facility on Thursday morning. Rodgers, who lives just a few blocks away, is one of many people who uses the new day programs offered at Ruth and Naomi's like its complimentary laundry machines.
— image credit: JENNA HAUCK/ PROGRESS

When most of Chilliwack is sitting down to a sumptuous meal on Christmas day, dozens of volunteers will be springing into action to serve a festive meal at Ruth & Naomi's Mission.

For the first time in the mission's history, they are having two separate Christmas dinner sittings, one at 2 p.m. and again at 6 p.m.

They expect to serve 240 people a beautiful turkey dinner with all the trimmings on Christmas day, says Bill Raddatz, executive director at Ruth & Naomi's, which is almost double the number they served last year.

"The numbers have increased because the need has increased," he said.

They are also hoping to provide children and adults with a small gift each.

An impressive body of 70 dedicated volunteers — about 35 for each sitting — will be leaving friends and family on Christmas day to serve the needy at Ruth & Naomi's.

"It's unbelievable," Raddatz said, about the number of community-minded people who are volunteering over Christmas. "We thought it would be hard to find people. But it's been phenomenal."

It's particularly reassuring, he notes, since not-for-profits across the Lower Mainland have reported having a tough time this year raising enough operating funds.

"We're up on both donations and the number of donors. There seems to be more awareness about what we do."

Over on Yale Road, at the Salvation Army's Care and Share Centre hundreds of hamper giveaways were rolled out on Thursday and Friday, along with the everything associated with the Adopt-A-Family program.

The Sally Ann will be closed on Christmas Day and Boxing Day, say officials, to give their staff and volunteers a much needed break from the Christmas rush.

jfeinberg@theprogress.com

Twitter.com/chwkjourno

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