Business owner Ingrid Patricia and the Parksville chapter of the Fraternal Order of Eagles (FOE) are raising money to hold a Christmas Day dinner for the homeless, and others who otherwise couldn’t enjoy a warm Christmas Day meal.
Looking to provide dinner and a gift bag for at least 250 people, the FOE has been fundraising since the start of December, said Patricia. The owner of Wonder, Transformation, Freedom Source in Parksville — and an FOE member — Patricia came up with the idea this year for the dinner along with a friend from the FOE.
“It’s a way to give back to the community,” she said, adding that she feels while there are a lot of programs and groups that offer support at this time of year, Christmas Day itself is a day that gets missed.
“Which is a really hard day for everybody,” she said. “So we just decided to do it.”
Patricia, who said she was born and raised in this area, has seen the homeless population grow.
“I see too much of it,” she said. “I have a lot of people in and out of the store that come and visit… (homelessness) needs to be addressed, and the more we can do, the better.”
In an effort to not impact other groups and organizations doing fundraising, Patricia said she waited to start fundraising until December.
So far, she’s been impressed by the response she’s gotten when asking for donations, saying that many parts of the meal are already arranged for.
“I’ve been asking people if they’d like to sponsor a plate for $10 and so far it’s been going good,” she said. “It’s snowballing; it’s wonderful.”
However, she said, donations of some items are still needed, including socks, gloves, toques, baking and some frozen veggies.
As for volunteers, Patricia said she’s got about 20 people ready to take part, including some friends and family that she’d normally be sitting down to Christmas dinner with. But anyone interested in volunteering can still be used.
“I can always put hands to work,” she said.
Donations can be dropped off to Wonder, Transformation, Freedom Source at 1B-180 Craig St. in Parksville, or on Fridays at the Eagles Hall at 281 A Pioneer Cres. in Parksville.
The dinner is expected to run from 2 p.m. to about 6 p.m. on Dec. 25 at the Eagles Hall. For more info or to volunteer, call Patricia at 250-954-9893.
Those giving cash donations will receive a receipt from the Parksville Eagles 3922 Home Society, according to the event’s info poster. Any proceeds will go to local charitable organizations.