This Christmas I felt that it was especially important to spend time with my family and give back to the community in a meaningful way. I was just finishing my exams when my mom brought up the idea of helping out at a Christmas dinner organized by the Good Shepherd. The dinner was an annual event held for families in the community that might not otherwise have a nice meal together during the Christmas Season. When I heard about it, I thought that it sounded like a great way to offer up my time but otherwise I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect.
When we arrived at the Banquet hall I was taken aback by the sheer size of the event. Many volunteers had come out and at least a hundred or so tables were spread out across a massive room. Each table was set; covered in a table cloth and decorated with poinsettias, cupcakes and chocolates. If you scanned the entire room you could see festive decorations everywhere and volunteers eager to start their own duties. Then the people began to file in, each person greeted by a volunteer, and you could see many families containing little children as well as seniors. I was so impressed by the time and care that was put into every detail. I also realised from the lines of people outside the doors of the banquet hall that many families saw this as an opportunity to provide an exciting Christmas event for their children.
As the dinner carried on and I watched as the families were served, I was overwhelmed by the sense of connection I felt between myself and the people sitting at the tables. Although these families may not have been able to afford a Christmas dinner themselves, they still made spending time with their loved ones a priority. Knowing that it is sometimes easier to give charity than to receive it, I was inspired by their perseverance in life. Many of them probably suffered from circumstances beyond their control or had possibly just moved to Canada in hopes of a better life for their children. This brought me to the realisation that a lot of what made me more fortunate in life was due to circumstance. I was extremely humbled by this thought, and began to see that being able to help others is a privilege.
I was very grateful for the opportunity to help at this event and I hope that it continues to be successful in the years to come. It is a great way to help build a community that is centered on love and compassion. I truly believe that the kindness and joy shared by the volunteers touched the hearts of all the people who attended.
By Dana Belford