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2013-12-15 at 16:45

Spreading the cheer

By Matt Vis,
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Staff at a local hotel are doing their part to make sure everybody has a reason to celebrate during the holiday season.

The Valhalla Inn sponsored the Salvation Army’s annual Christmas dinner for the 20th occasion, which took place at their Cumberland Street headquarters on Sunday.

In addition to sponsoring the event, the hotel supplied a multitude of volunteers as well as the food for the event.

The volunteers were needed, as Salvation Army executive director Maj. Rob Kerr said organizers were preparing for more than 400 people to come through the doors.

The Christmas feast is one of the biggest dinners the Salvation Army hosts during the year.

“Generally this is a bit bigger than Thanksgiving,” Kerr said prior to the start of the dinner..

“I think we pushed about 400 at Thanksgiving and we’re going to see more than that. It seems like the Christmas dinner is a bigger event.”

On the menu was a complete turkey dinner with stuffing and the related fixings. They also served coffee, tea and cider along with dessert.

The dinner also had musical accompaniment with holiday carollers, as well as Santa for the children and toys that had been donated during the Toys for Tots campaign.

Valhalla Inn general manager Mary McLellan sits on the board with the Salvation Army and said this is an important time of year to help people.

“We’ve had a great relationship and we’re always there for each other,” McLellan said. “We just like to plan an integral part in what they do for the community and find ways to help them.”

The dinner would not be possible without the assistance of community partners.

“It’s the only way we could do it,” Kerr said. “Their hard work and support allows us to do this. To have someone who’s been doing it for 20 years, we know what we’re doing and how to work together so it’s something that’s become a community event.”

McLellan said there were more volunteers than positions available, and that helping out at the event helps improve the work environment.

“It makes things that happen at work seem inconsequential,” she said.

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yqtyqt says:
An awesome story. Thanks to the many volunteers, sponsors and generosity, this is a special event for the less fortunate. Hopefully it was void of politicians and glad handing.

The recipients are in need and Thunder Bay showed its big heart.
12/16/2013 9:18:38 AM
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