SASKATOON – The Friendship Inn is preparing for one of its busiest days of the year, but still has some items to cross off its wish list. It’s expected to cost $10,000 to celebrate Christmas at the Inn with approximately 600 people attending.
Over 50 turkeys have already been brought in for the feast at the community centre for Saskatoon’s most vulnerable.
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“We still need some turkeys and some presents for the children. We’re looking for gifts for youth and teenagers … as well as men’s jackets, mitts and toques,” said Friendship Inn executive director Sandra Stack.
Brandon Nataway is one of the homeless people who visit the centre on a regular basis. He said having a warm jacket, hat and mitts have made life on the streets a bit easier for him.
“That’s the Christmas spirit. If it wasn’t for places like this, it would not be the same because these people do have a heart,” Nataway said.
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The Friendship Inn has always given out warm clothing and gifts at Christmas. This year, there have been “a lot” of people requesting gifts, according to Stack.
The Inn has already met its quota for volunteers on Christmas, but that shouldn’t scare people away from signing up once the holidays are over.
“What a miracle just a cup of coffee can be. Feeling the warmth – and it’s not just the warmth from the coffee, it’s the warmth from the hearts of everybody around,” said Teresa Hiebert, who volunteers with her three daughters and church group.
The Christmas dinner is scheduled from 11:45 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. CT on Christmas Day. Leftovers will be served on Boxing Day.
Donations can be made online or in person at 619 20th Street West in Saskatoon.