HUMBOLDT — Last Christmas, a regular at Humboldt A&W was going to be alone on Christmas.
“He was feeling down that he lives alone,” said Colleen Cornelius, the manager at A&W. “I said to him, ‘I'll make you Christmas dinner.’”
The regular pointed out that the anti-COVID-19 health measures at that time prevented households from mixing.
“I said, ‘that's okay, we can meet here. I'll meet you here at the store.’”
The word spread and by the time Christmas Day came, Cornelius served Christmas dinner to eight people at the A&W.
Cornelius said this year, she planned to do the same type of thing. Then Michael Behiel got involved.
Behiel, a local accountant who also serves as mayor, had talked to Kari Cenciosi at the Humboldt Community Soup Kitchen, asking what they were doing for Christmas meals. Cenciosi told him their Christmas dinner is being delivered on Dec. 21.
So Behiel secured the Legion Hall and told Cornelius, “let's turn this into a big thing.”
“I just think it's important that everybody have companionship and a decent meal on Christmas, where they can go somewhere, be with company and friends, have a meal and enjoy themselves,” Behiel said.
“We've seen a growing number of homeless people in town, and a growing number of people, especially since COVID, who are suffering from mental health and loneliness.
“We’ve got some restrictions that are a little more relaxed. I want to do something to make sure that these people know that they're not alone, and to know that they are cared about and welcome.”
The Community Soup Kitchen and Partners Family Services are helping out, identifying people who might want to join in.
The dinner starts at 4:30 p.m. To ensure there’s enough for all, those wanting to attend must call in advance to Partners Family Services at 306-682-4135, Kari Cenciosi at 306-360-7888 or Cornelius at 306-231-6622.
“Everybody's welcome,” Cornelius said. “Don't be home alone for Christmas. That's our goal.”
“We want you to have a hot dinner and have some genuine friends and conversation. It's been a tough couple years with COVID. People deserve this.”
Those that can’t make it who live in town can get Christmas dinner delivered.
Cornelius said this comes from her heart.
“This is the way all communities should be,” she said. “And not just at Christmas. This needs to extend through every day. Everybody's climbing a mountain. We never know how high their mountain is, so we have to just always be kind.”