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All hands on deck for Christmas banquet

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It’s crunch time for the volunteers who organize the annual community Christmas banquet at Delhi United Church.

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With less than a week to go before the big day, Pastor Wendy Lowden says an inventory of pending food donations is being compiled.

As well, Lowden wants to firm up the roster of volunteers who will be available Dec. 24 as well as Christmas Day for the feast itself.

“We know it (Dec. 24) is one of the busiest days of the year for people, so even if you can spare an hour it would be appreciated,” Lowden said.

The focal point of preparation is the kitchen in the basement of the church, which is located on Church Street West in Delhi. Preparation day begins at 9:30 a.m. and lasts till 2 p.m. The banquet itself is a noon-time event.

Thoughts at Delhi United Church at this time of year turn to the late Rev. Cheryl Fitch, founder and first hostess of the Christmas banquet.

The starting point for Fitch was the idea that no one in Delhi and surrounding area should be alone on Christmas day unless they want to be.

Fitch’s solution to the isolation many endure at this time of year was a come-one, come-all banquet for anyone who appreciates good food and good fellowship. The first banquet occurred in 2004 and has been a Christmas tradition since.

The need for food is considerable. Guests last year made short work of five turkeys, six hams and 75 pounds of potatoes. There was also stuffing, gravy and vegetables and a dazzling array of desserts.

The need for volunteers is considerable. Delhi United Church welcomes all comers regardless of where they worship.

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Lowden has been on the job in Delhi for a year. She’s impressed with what she has seen.

“I’m so incredibly proud of this church and the outreach it does,” she said. “This event just blows me away.”

Fitch passed unexpectedly in January 2017. Several weeks before – after experiencing difficulty swallowing – Fitch was diagnosed with esophageal cancer.

Andy Fitch, of Delhi, remains involved with the banquet as a tribute to his late wife. He said he thinks of her every day, especially at this time of year.

“She loved Christmas and I loved her. Her and her family started it (the banquet) but they all fell away so I help keep it up.”

Anyone wishing more information on the banquet or who is willing to volunteer their time or foodstuffs can learn more by calling 519-754-7550 or by email at wendyalowden@gmail.com

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