Bringing joy to all

Ryan Percy
By Ryan Percy December 8, 2017 13:36

Ron Dunn, executive director of the Windsor Downtown Mission, working in his office. (Photo by Ryan Percy)

By Ryan Percy

Hundreds of Windsorites will find good meals waiting for them at the Downtown Mission this holiday season.

Every day the Mission serves more than 700 meals to anyone who comes in looking for something warm to fill their stomachs. They offer bagged lunches of sandwiches and fruit as well as three meals a day served cafeteria style at the Victoria Avenue location.

On Dec. 14 the Mission will host its annual Christmas dinner. An estimated 250 people will be served a hot Christmas meal and treated to a performance by the Gosfield North Public School student choir. There will also be a visit from Santa and everyone will receive a present.

Ron Dunn, executive director of the Windsor Downtown Mission, said the dinner is one the largest but also most exciting meals of the year to serve.

“Our staff, our volunteers, our board members and members of the community serve them at the table,” said Dunn. “Everybody gets dressed up in their finest party clothes and we serve them a full Christmas meal. It’s generally turkey and all the trimmings. We’ll cook about 20 turkeys, a couple hundred pounds of potatoes, maybe some yams.”

Workers at the Downtown Mission said they are trying hard to make their Christmas dinner for the community the best it can possibly be.

“It’s really just a fabulous event,” said Dunn. “It’s an opportunity for people who might not be feeling their best to forget about their troubles for a little bit and just enjoy the Christmas holiday like you and I will.”

Before the meal, the Gosfield North student choir will be singing for all the attendees of the event. Donna Jean Patterson, 56, has been attending the Christmas meal at the Downtown Mission for a number of years now. She said she is excited for the choir most of all among the events of the day.

“My favourite part is before the Christmas lunch,” said Patterson. “The choir singing and also playing the instruments for Christmas. Right after that they usually distribute Christmas cookies and homemade baked goods. It’s very nice.”

The dinner is open to everyone with Santa bringing a gift for each person in attendance, from toys to gift cards. Dunn was excited to say Santa Claus is coming to help the Mission volunteers give back to the community. Dunn said he hopes everyone can have fun during the event.

“Everybody of all ages still has a kid in them,” said Dunn. “So seeing Santa Claus, getting a gift from Santa and some of them sit on [Santa’s] knee and get their picture taken, it’s just generally a really good time and we’re really happy as a staff and an organization to bring a little joy to folks who may or may not have it otherwise.”

Free tickets are still available to attend the event, but they are going fast. Dunn said it is going to be a good Christmas experience.

Ryan Percy
By Ryan Percy December 8, 2017 13:36

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