Christmas Light

November 2016

Our Kids Count Family Christmas Dinner Shines for a 5th Year

The spirit of giving and a sense of community is alive in the Ogden Street area at what has become one of its most anticipated annual events - the Family Christmas Party organized by Our Kids Count.

The event began back in 2012 as something special for families affected by the unfortunate flooding in the area. And each year it has continued to grow with over 300 people attending last year’s dinner.

“Many of our families do not have a Christmas party to attend or people to share dinner with”, says Gladys Berringer, Executive Director of Our Kids Count.

The event is truly a community effort with the hall donated by Royal Canadian Legion Polish Veterans Branch #149, the meal from John and Barbara Trevisanutto with the help of the Victoria Inn, the Royal Canadian Legion Polish Combatants #219 provide the perogies and Daytona’s Restaurant provides the potatoes. The meals are served by volunteers from the Kiwanis Club of Westfort and Union Gas. The face painting volunteers and Rick Harmer (who is also known as Santa Claus) are always a hit, with several other entertainers volunteering their time for the fun filled afternoon.

“The main attraction of course is the Christmas meal with the highlight being the arrival of Santa Claus and the giving of gifts. The gifts are donated through an ‘Angel Tree’ at St. Anthony’s and St. Dominics Church. In addition, the Kiwanis Club of Westfort provides extra money to buy gifts for the families from our Our Kids Count Westfort site.
“Last year, James Ianetti from Canadian Tire Thunder Centre generously donated kitchen items for each family”, says Berringer.

The event provides an opportunity for everyone to come together under one roof and share a meal together and celebrate the season.

“What I love most is how our community responds. It’s a perfect example of how both the community and business can come together and create memories that last a lifetime. The smiling faces on the parents and children cannot be measured in any dollar value. It provides an afternoon where the stresses of family life and financial constraints are forgotten and people have a great meal and a great time”, adds Berringer.

This year’s event is scheduled to take place on Saturday, December 17th at the Royal Canadian Legion Polish Veterans Branch #149 at 730 Simpson Street.

If you wish to volunteer or donate to offset the costs of children’s activities and entertainment, please contact Our Kids Count at 704 McKenzie Street or call 623-0292

Bill Wrightsell is a marketing consultant and regular contributor to Bayview Magazine. Email him at

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