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Fort Macleod Masons to host free Christmas dinner

Alberta Lodge No. 3 of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons will have a few friends for dinner on Saturday, Dec. 13.
A few hundred, that is.
Now in their 128th year of service to Fort Macleod, the Masons will host the Community Christmas Dinner from 3-7 p.m. at the community hall.
There is no charge for the turkey dinner with all the trimmings, but the Masons will accept donations of cash, non-perishable food items and toys for the food bank and Christmas hampers run by the Salvation Army in Fort Macleod.
“It’s for everybody in the community,” Mason Brian Reach said.
The Masons are carrying on a long-time Fort Macleod tradition of ensuring everyone in the community gets a traditional Christmas dinner.
Bev and Henry Hagen hosted a free turkey dinner for years until they sold their restaurant in Fort Macleod.
The idea of a community Christmas dinner was revived four years ago by the staff at Synergy Land Services in Fort Macleod.
Last year, when the company had to bow out as hosts, the Hagens approached the Masons about taking over as the host organization.
“We as Masons thought it was a perfect opportunity for us to get out in public and show we’re still part of the community,” Reach said.
Volunteers include the Fort Macleod RCMP detachment and Ranchland Victim Services.
Fort Macleod Family and Community Support Services also provide volunteers.
Included in the volunteers are Bev and Henry Hagen, who brought years of experience in running a free Christmas dinner from their years as owners of the Westerner Restaurant in Fort Macleod.
“The Hagens, if it wasn’t for them, it wouldn’t have happened,” Reach said.
Monty Orr of Windy Rafters Barn Dance arranged for entertainment during the dinner last year.
Santa Claus makes an appearance to visit with children and adults, and have photographs taken.
Volunteers from the Fort Macleod Drug Coalition and Christ Church Anglican youth group will man craft tables for the children.
Lisa Lennon of Fort Macleod will be on hand to offer face-painting.
“It’s amazing, the community support that we have received,” Reach said.
Last year, the Masons and their volunteers served 425 people a traditional Christmas dinner of turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, vegetables and cranberries, with ice cream and strawberries for dessert.
For information or to assist with the Community Christmas Dinner, phone Brian Reach at 403-634-2205.