Christmas Meal 2020
Christmas at Our Place in time of pandemic
VICTORIA, B.C. – This has been a difficult year for most people, and Christmas is bound to be even harder as the COVID virus prevents people from seeing their families. At Our Place, we understand this hardship better than most because the people we serve rarely see their families even in non-pandemic times.Despite the challenges imposed by the pandemic, Our Place strives to make sure Christmas is just that little bit extra special for those who would otherwise go without.
Last week, we handed out personalized Angel Gifts to over 500 people. And for many of them, it was the only gift they’ll receive this season.
One recipient wrote, “It was very meaningful to receive a gift from a complete stranger/Angel with no judgements, conditions, or strings attached. For many, me included, despite having family in town, it was the only gift I received. You made my Christmas morning.”
“It really puts everything we do into perspective,” said Our Place CEO Julian Daly. “It is a difficult time for so many people, but if we can make someone forget their troubles for a moment and feel a sense of hope and belonging, then we know all the work we do is worthwhile.”
To continue brightening people’s day, Our Place planned two turkey-stuffed Christmas meals.
“Our chefs never disappoint.,” said Daly. “The team was busy cooking turkey, mixing stuffing, perfecting the gravy, and getting fresh vegetables ready for the steamer.”
The first Christmas Meal was served on Friday, Dec. 18 from 4:30pm to 6:30pm. That meal is sponsored by our long-time friend and supporter, Gordy Dodd.
The second Christmas Meal was served on Tuesday, Dec. 22 from 11:30am to 1:30pm. This meal was provided by a generous gift from the Jaymac Fund through the Victoria Foundation, as well as the special meals on Christmas day. Other December meals PLUS were ensured by our wonderful donors and sponsors.
A former Our Place family member recently wrote a small note to explain just how much a special meal like this means. “Not that long ago the folks at Our Place took me in when l was at my lowest and most vulnerable, and slowly over time offered everything l needed to start again. Today, l am housed, gainfully employed and feel safe enough to go deeper into the healing I need for myself, my family and community. I am just one of the thousands of folks Our Place have helped (and still helps every day) raise from the ashes of trauma, poverty, addiction and despair.”
The meal service was markedly different this year in that Our Place couldn’t have several hundred people sitting down all at once to enjoy their meal. Volunteers, politicians and other community representatives also were not on hand due to COVID restrictions. Instead, the kitchen extended the mealtime to two hours, and service was cafeteria style.
“Our Place has always been there for people going through difficult times — regardless of the reason,” said Daly. “And this year, more than ever, people who thought they would never need our services are finding our doors are open.”
Along with two wonderful Christmas meals, Our Place also received some extra funding from the United Way and City of Victoria to open its showers for extended hours over the winter. Showers are now available from 8am to 9pm, seven days per week.