Friday, September 28, 2012

A chance for everyone to be thankful

Thanksgiving: a time for enjoying a special meal with family or friends, a chance to give thanks for blessings received. Yet there are many, especially in these times of economic uncertainty, who aren’t so blessed. For some, family is lost or alienated, friends few, and a good meal rarely on the table (if there even is a table). Luckily, there is always one place everyone can sit together and enjoy bird, fixin’s, and companionship: Rosie’s turkey dinners.
Started as a Barrie Christmas tradition 18 years ago, expanding a decade later to include Easter and Thanksgiving, these dinners are put together by Rose Romita, career restaurateur and caterer. In addition to turkey, real mashed potatoes, vegetables, Caesar salad and rolls, guests enjoy each others’ company in surroundings of music and camaraderie.
This year’s dinner is on Thanksgiving Monday (October 8), from noon to 6, at Central United Church. It’s a pretty big affair – about 600 meals served by around 50 volunteers who prepare and serve food, clear dishes, and wash up. One of them could be you! If you’d like to join in helping this joyous and compassionate event, call 705-722-7763 to let Rose know. If you’re busy Monday afternoon, help with preparation Sunday afternoon or Monday morning instead. High school students will receive credit for their hours. Recently been inspired to “pay it forward”? Here’s your chance.
Donations are also graciously accepted, including desserts, pop, juice, water, plastic cutlery, Styrofoam dishes, and turkeys themselves.
Musicians are welcome to come and perform (bring your own instruments); music courtesy of DJ Marty and his sound equipment, and the karaoke tradition continues, if your voice is your instrument.
Sometimes political recognition goes to the cronies, the hacks, the back-room partisans. But sometimes it goes to the truly deserving, and for her selfless aid to the less fortunate, Rosie was recently surprised with a Queen’s Diamond Jubilee silver medal from our Member of Parliament, Patrick Brown. When she’s not serving up free food, Rose is looking for members to join her Rose Foundation board in their mission to create transitional housing in Barrie, and you can apply at
For those in need, there are also free Thanksgiving events at Collier United Church on Saturday October 6: Collier’s Table (dinner) at 6 PM and Collier’s Closet (clothing depot) from 3 – 8.
And coming up soon, on Thursday October 18th, is a very special event, the Simcoe County Alliance to End Homelessness’ “Time to Care”, also at Central United. More on this in a future column, but there will be many free services and items for people in need.
Happy Thanksgiving to all, and may we all have something for which to be thankful!
Published as my Root Issues column in the Barrie Examiner as "Rosie provides turkey dinner, companionship"
Erich Jacoby-Hawkins is a director of Living Green and the Robert Schalkenbach Foundation.

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