The Fire Hall Kitchen and Tap in Cranbrook is taking on a long-standing community Christmas tradition to help those in need this holiday season.
Traditionally, Dairy Queen and Arby’s in Cranbrook host a community Christmas dinner, feeding hundreds of people who would otherwise not have a holiday meal on Christmas day.
This year, due to complications of hosting a volunteer event during a pandemic, DQ and Arby’s have had to cancel their event. This would have been their 22nd year in a row, which the Fire Hall says needs to be acknowledged.
“For over two decades, the volunteers and staff of those two restaurants have given up family time, on Christmas day, to feed strangers,” The Fire Hall said in a Facebook post. “In that time, almost 6000 plates of turkey dinner have found their way into the hands and hearts of those that needed them most.”
Jesse Roberts, who owns the Fire Hall as well as Arby’s, says COVID regulations made it impossible to do what they have previously done.
“We hummed and hawed over it for a while. When it became obvious that we couldn’t host the dinner we sort of just left it at that. But then the staff stepped in and said, let’s figure out a work around,” Roberts explained. “The chef at the Fire Hall volunteered to cook all the meals, and we decided that staff could do the delivery.”
Many of the services that people rely on are closed on Christmas day, which is why Arby’s and Dairy Queen hosted the dinner in the first place.
“We didn’t want people to be hungry on Christmas day, when many other operations are closed,” Roberts said. “Hopefully, it will still be able to satisfy that need, which we started two decades ago.”
Fire Hall cooks will be making turkey dinners ahead of time and freezing them. The rest of the team will deliver the meals on the days before Christmas, allowing everyone who receives one to heat them up. The meals are available for delivery or for takeout directly from the restaurant.
Roberts estimates that between 300 and 400 people will receive a Christmas dinner. In previous years, they have fed between 275 and 350 people.
“We’ll be making 400 meals, and if there are any left over we have already arranged for the Food Bank to distribute them,” Roberts said.
The Fire Hall will be accepting calls until December 20th to arrange meals and deliveries. Be sure to call 778-520-0911 to place your order.
If you are calling on behalf of someone else, this is the information they require:
– Name of person you are calling for
– Number of hungry people
– Address of drop off
– Contact number, in case further directions are required
– Best date to drop off (December 22, 23 or 24th)
The Fire Hall is asking the community to spread the word in order to prevent people from showing up at DQ or Arby’s on Christmas day.
“It’s really important, we want people to be aware that this is taking place, this is an option, so they don’t show up hungry on Christmas Day,” Roberts said.
He adds that he is personally saddened that he won’t get to see the many dedicated volunteers that he usually spends the day with.
“I want to give a huge, sincere thank you to all of those folks who have worked so hard with us over the past two decades to make sure the community is fed,” Roberts said. “We’ve spent every Christmas day together for the past 22 years and we’re bummed that we won’t get to spend that time together.”
The virus who stole Christmas? | Our pals at DQ and Arby’s loved Christmas a lot, but Covid, the wrecker of fun, did…
Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.