Thursday, October 9, 2014

Rosie's dinners build community

I’ve written before about Rose “Rosie” Romita’s holiday dinners at Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter, which she puts on with volunteer assistance and donated food. But it’s time to update the story, because her dinners are evolving from charity to community, becoming something even more than just feeding the hungry.
Regularly serving as many as 800 meals to people who otherwise might not have a chance at a good holiday feed is pretty special, but sharing a meal together is a bonus. And that’s why more people are being invited this year: not just to get food, but to share community.
Although our city and our houses are getting bigger, our families seem to be shrinking. Many people either don’t have much or any family to spend the holiday with, or have family who are too far away. Eating alone or as a small family is fine, but on traditional holidays it can seem lonelier, somehow.
So if you find yourself in that situation this year, please come to Rosie’s Thanksgiving dinner! Students, seniors, or anyone who doesn’t have a big group of family or friends to spend the day with, please join us at the Community Wholeness Centre (CWC) at 59 Maple on Monday from noon to 6. You can bring kids or friends, too. All ages, all incomes, all kinds of people; the more, the merrier!
The event is also open to local musicians if you’d like to have a welcoming audience, and even if you aren’t so musically skilled, the karaoke machine will be set up for your singing pleasure.
This is the only turkey - please donate more turkeys!
Photo credit: J.T. McVeigh
Of course, none of this can happen without the support of the community. There are always plenty of volunteers willing to lend a helping hand, so many that it’s not worth leaving your family behind just to come down and help out. But other donations are always needed. The CWC is getting the ball rolling by donating the kitchen and dining space, but there is still a great need for turkeys to be the main course. Beverages, desserts, and other treats are always appreciated, or care items like new socks or toiletries that can make life a little easier for those getting by with less.
So again, one and all are welcome this Monday from noon to six at the Community Wholeness Centre at 59 Maple street. If you are able to donate a turkey or any other kind of food or supplies (or grocery money or gift cards), please email or call 705-722-7763. Your donation and your company are appreciated by all as this dinner grows into a tradition for the whole community, a chance for us all to come together and give thanks for our blessings many or few, most of all our thanks for having each other.

A version of this - with Rosie's name censored out (!) - was published as my Root Issues column in the Barrie Examiner as "Thankgiving dinner truly a community event"
Erich Jacoby-Hawkins is a director of Living Green and the Robert Schalkenbach Foundation. Comment on Root Issues at


  1. That's just silly that "The Barrie Examiner" would remove Rosie's name from your column! For shame!!

  2. They bend over backwards not to give any kind of advantage, real or perceived, to any candidate in an election. (Other than when they endorse one, of course!) My view is that when a person is doing something newsworthy, they should be covered, even if there is an election on.

  3. This is a copy of an email that I just sent to Barrie Transit, The Barrie Examine, The Barrie Advance and Rosie:

    Karen Roy
    Transit Support Clerk
    Barrie Transit

    I’ve noticed that a lot of Churches and Charitable organizations are opening their doors and providing a greatly appreciated Thanksgiving Dinner to those in need. Unfortunately, it’s too bad that so many of the unfortunate people that could benefit from this generosity from the community are unable to do so because Barrie Transit does NOT provide service on that day.