There were two places serving free Christmas dinners in Moose Jaw on Dec. 25.
Volunteers from the United churches of Moose Jaw put on an extravagant meal at St. Andrew’s while Monica and Kevin Haakenson had the most Christmas Day guests they’ve ever had for the nine-years-long tradition at Bobby’s Place Olde World Tavern.
Karen Mundt helped coordinate the dinner at St. Andrew’s. She couldn’t stop raving about the 15–20 volunteers who gave up some of their holiday time to cook.
“It just makes you feel so good that people are so kind,” Mundt said.
She said lots of the guests were senior citizens, many of them members of a United church congregation.
“That’s kind of the aim, is to provide a place for people who are alone,” Mundt said. “There are other folks, people that might not get a Christmas meal.”
Monica Haakenson came up with the idea to offer a Christmas Day meal nearly a decade ago. This year, Kevin said, a record high of 200 people might’ve dined at Bobby’s.
He said there were new families, and the most kids he’d ever seen at the event.
There are also families who come every year.
“It’s nice to see them. We’ve watched a couple of the kids grow up,” Haakenson said.
He said it’s part of the business to have people ask for help, and the original idea was to give food and company to those who wouldn’t have it otherwise.
“We have all walks of life coming through for the Christmas Day supper. Anywhere from what somebody would describe as homeless, to people who just want to be around some other people. It’s as simple as that,” Haakenson said.
Read the Times-Herald's story on Riverside Mission and the importance of community during the holidays: Riverside serves more than meals