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Masons seeking support for annual free Christmas dinner

The Masonic Lodge in Fort Macleod is having some friends for an early Christmas dinner on Saturday, Dec. 12.
But they need a little help from donors and volunteers to make the annual Community Christmas Dinner a success.
Members of Alberta Lodge No. 3 expect to serve 450 to 500 turkey dinners with all the trimmings.
“It’s great to get everybody in the community out for an evening together,” Mason Brian Reach said.
The free dinner runs from 4-7 p.m. at Fort Macleod and District Community Hall, with crafts for children, musical entertainment and a visit from Santa Claus adding to the fun.
The Masons and their willing volunteers from all corners of the community will accept donations of non-perishable food items, toys and cash for The Salvation Army.
“It’s all going to stay in our community,” Reach noted.
The Community Christmas Dinner continues to grow in popularity, with close to 450 people served in 2014.
“The support of the volunteers that we receive, and the donations that come in are amazing,” Reach said.
Bev and Henry Hagen, who hosted a free Christmas dinner when they owned the Westerner Restaurant in Fort Macleod, are back in charge of the kitchen.
The Fort Macleod Drug Coalition and Hand In Hand Out of School Care will staff craft tables for the children.
Scott Miller will provide music to accompany dinner, and Windy Rafters Barn Dance will also be on hand to provide musical entertainment during dinner.
Santa Claus will be on hand to visit and have his photograph taken with children and adults from 4-7 p.m. Photographs will be sent by e-mail.
“Things are coming together very well,” Reach said.
More volunteers are needed, however, to undertake tasks such as ushering people to tables, serving dinners and helping at the craft tables.
“We’ve always had lots of help,” Reach said.
Volunteers will be deployed in shifts, with the first batch working from 3:45-5:45 p.m. and the second one coming in from 5:30-7:30 p.m.
The Masons are also looking for donations of turkeys, potatoes, juice and other food items.
“We’re still happy to do it,” Reach said of the Masons, who took over organization of the dinner three years ago from Synergy Land Services. “With all the people who come forward to help, it makes our job much easier.”
To volunteer or contribute to the dinner, contact Brian Reach at 403-634-2205, 403-553-4731 or reachbrian@shaw.ca or Dave Gregory at 403-553-3078.

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