Tuff Community Christmas dinner Dec. 14

Christmas is time for community, if you ask John Enns, who is busy helping coordinate Tofino’s annual Community Christmas dinner.

“Last year we had over 100 people there, it was pretty much fun,” Enns said.

“This is for absolutely anybody – we have an open community event for this, and there’s a lot of people,” he said.

There’s a program, Christmas carols – and food, glorious food.

Turkey. Ham. Vegan dishes. All the trimmings – it’s a feast.

“It’s a lot of fun, and it’s really appreciated. I think the whole town appreciates it, even if they don’t all come,” he said.

Food for the event is donated by the Tofino Co-op, local churches and a few kind hearts. Those wishing to bring potluck are welcome to do so, Enns said.

The event is sponsored by the Fish and Loaves Society, which handled a weekly community feeding program.

The event is set for Dec. 14 at 6 p.m. at Tofino Community Hall.

Anyone wishing to volunteer can call Ruth Sadler at 250-725-3317.

Enns helps pull together the weekly Fish and Loaves lunch.

For some, it’s a great chance to connect with neighbours; for others, it’s the most solid food they get all week. The weekly lunches are attracting more than twice as many as they used to in the winter.

Enns said he’s seeing greater levels of need in Tofino than in previous years; the culprit, he said, is a housing squeeze.

“I think that housing is a big problem in Tofino, and it’s not really getting better. It’s squeezing people on the low end of the income scale, more and more,” he said.

“Rent is often half or more of some people’s total earnings,” he said.

Many of the people at Fish and Loaves are looking for work or working at dishwashing, serving, cleaning or other low-paying jobs, he said.

“Those people are needed and if we’re not careful, we’re going to lose them because of the lack of affordable housing,” said Enns, who was glad to see the issue raised during the election.

“I was very encouraged to see people talking about this a lot more .. it was in the forefront more than I expected,” he said.

+++ Other kind-hearted community feeding special events at Christmas on the West Coast:

WCRS free Christmas Lunch Dec. 11 in Ukee

Community Christmas Lunch, Westcoast Community Resources Society, Thursday, Dec. 11. Free drop-in event, from 12-2 p.m. at UCC. Questions? Call 250-726-2343.

Come out an celebrate the holiday spirit with good food and door prizes.

Christmas Day Dinner in Ukee Dec. 25

Heidi and Mark Shaw of Ucluelet will once again host Christmas Day dinner for anyone looking for some nice neighbours to share dinner with. 5 p.m. Dec. 25 at the Lions/UAC hall beside the high school. If you wish to donate or volunteer, call 250-726-7526.