A holiday dinner – Elvis style
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Dec 08, 2010  |  Vote 0    0

A holiday dinner – Elvis style

Ottawa East News

It’s Christmas time and the king of rock n roll’s spirit is still alive and well in Westboro – just ask the Elvis Sighting Society.

The registered Ottawa charity is once again holding its annual Christmas dinner at the Newport Restaurant – reflecting the giving spirit of Elvis Presley.

“Elvis was known for his charitable work,” said Rita Hansen, a member of the society. “Our mandate is to provide aid and comfort to women, children and people who are in less fortunate circumstances.”

The Newport Restaurant has had its doors open on Christmas for quite some time, and the Elvis Sighting Society volunteered to help organize the dinner.

What started as a dinner mainly for the needy has turned into a dinner for everyone – from young couples to university students who can’t get home for the holidays.

Paul Kuster, a volunteer on the society’s christmas dinner committee, has been volunteering with his wife Ruth at the dinner for almost 20 years. He starts preparing for the event as early as late August to get everything ready.

“I can’t imagine Christmas without coming here every year,” said Kuster.

Over the years he has seen his share of different people with different stories come out and spend their Christmas at the restaurant.

He’ll always remember the one year when three men who has just immigrated to Canada from Russia a few days before Christmas and hadn’t eaten anything since they got to Canada. The men ate three meals each and even took some leftovers home.

Years later, one of them came back to the restaurant with their wife and new baby to celebrate the holidays.

“It’s a great atmosphere to be in on Christmas Day,” said Kuster.

He added that over the years the event has also brought in more people – thanks to word of mouth advertising.

“The event is for everyone,” he said. “No one should be alone at Christmas.”

In addition to the full turkey dinner served all day, a fire truck full of presents also gets delivered to the restaurant.  

This dinner also has expanded to provide food to Meals-On-Wheels on Christmas Day and even has a home delivery service for those who might not want to leave their home.

“It’s a word of mouth thing. People start lining up at 10:30 a.m.,” she said. “It’s just a matter of being all inclusive.”

She added that everybody gets a gift when after they finish dinner and are ready to leave.

While the Elvis Sighting Society helps out every year, Hansen said the group also likes giving back to small associations within the Westboro community or Ottawa area.

She said the society has many volunteers for Christmas Day – some even being repeat volunteers who come in off the street to lend a hand.

But those interested are always welcome to volunteer for as long as they like and can visit the website www.elvissightingsociety.org for more details.

Food donations are also welcome, including home baked goods.

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