With little less than a week to go before Christmas, one extended family in town is hard at work ensuring those in need will be well taken care of on the big day.
The Cridlands stepped up to host the community Christmas dinner, which will take place from noon to 2 p.m. at the Knox United Church in Fort Frances on Christmas Day, following the news that the Fort Frances Volunteer Bureau was forced to cancel their plans when they were unable to find a volunteer to cook the meal.
Having the drive to help, and some family members' connections to The Flint House, Dana Cridland said plans for the dinner are coming together.
“It's going really well,” she confirmed.
“We're really excited and we're looking forward to Dec. 25.”
While this is the first time the family has organized the dinner, Cridland said they've been amazed at the support they've received from the community at large, either privately, through businesses and organizations, or other events.
“We got a lot of stuff from 'Stuff-a-Cruiser,'” she explained.
“We're actually very overwhelmed with the generosity of the whole community. With every aspect of this event we have had tons of volunteers that have contacted us that are willing to volunteer, tons of monetary donations, and just lots of people that are really excited that it's going to continue on.”
Cridland explained that they're still working on finalizing a schedule for the day of the dinner in order to let all of the volunteers know what role they'll be filling, but they're not worried about having enough people on hand to make the dinner as successful as possible.
“We've played around with it in a few different areas,” she said.
“We're getting some feedback around different jobs and different stuff we may have missed just because this is our first time doing this event, we don't know some of the jobs that are needed. Once we have that finalized we'll have a better idea, but we have an enormous amount of people that have contacted us.”
The dinner is truly a family affair, and Cridland said everyone is excited to take part in putting on the community event this year.
“This is one of the most exciting Christmases that we've ever had as a family,” she said.
“We spend Christmas together every single year, but this is the one I think a lot of people in my family are looking forward to—to give back to our community and still be able to spend the quality time with each other, which is what it's all about.”
Cridland said the family wanted to extend their thanks to all those who reached out to offer support, supplies or to volunteer.
“We just want to say thank you to everyone,” she said.
“We're very overwhelmed with the generosity of the whole community. We've been thanked in so many different aspects, but we want to thank everyone else for their generosity and their help and their commitment to this event which is so important to this community.”
Cridland also extended her thanks to local businesses and organizations who have helped them prepare for the dinner in different ways.