Ladies enjoyed time with Santa at the Smoky River Ryders Community Christmas Supper on Dec. 9. In front, left-right, are Mrs. Claus and Santa Claus. Behind, left-right, are Melanie Marcoux, Josee Marcoux and Savannah Adams.Emily Plihal, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

It is the time of year when people go out of their way to ensure that others have a bright and majestic holiday season.

The Smoky River Ryders Riding Club decided they wanted to not only improve one person’s holiday season, but the whole community of McLennan by hosting their first Community Christmas Supper Dec. 9.

“2023 was a difficult year for everyone with inflation and just how the world is today,” says Ryders’ president Tammy Stout.

“We felt it would be a nice way for us all to come together. Although we are a small community, we have big hearts, and we wanted our community to come together and enjoy a night together to celebrate the holiday season,” she adds.

The group organized a supper with the donations they received through the year. Their goal was to be able to provide a community event where people could gather and have a delicious meal with their friends and family.

Over 100 people attended the supper, with an additional 26 meals delivered to seniors at the Manor East and Manor West, and a few senior couples in town.

“We have some new arrivals to our community, and they were so happy to come,” says Stout.

“They said it was their first Christmas in Canada and they were so happy to attend, and they thoroughly enjoyed the evening,” she adds.

The meal was catered by the Ryders including Chantal Chavis, Gail Gervais, Sharlene Lambert, and Stout. Stout says the men in their group, consisting of Welin Belhomme, Ren Lambert, and David Fedick helped with hauling groceries, delivering meals, doing dishes, making juice and coffee, and other odds and ends.

“We are overwhelmed at the community support we are given,” she says noting that it was a busy year for the Ryders.

“This was a partnered event with the Royal Purple and the beautiful ladies helped serve at the hall while we went and delivered meals to our local seniors. We also had volunteers from Georges P. Vanier and Brain Injury Group volunteering for their legacy hours, wrapping utensils, setting up tables, making the kiddie bags, decorating, helping serve, dishes, and cleaning.”

Stout says the club received a lot of donations from the community including from Marilynne Brulotte, Laura LeClerc, Debbie Isert, Anne Bastien, Dave Gervais, Kelly Lizotte, Brokerlink, Town of McLennan, Royal Purple, DRL Consulting, Peace River Performance Club, No Frills Peace River, and people who attended the Show and Shine who donated toys for the children.

“I think it is important for us all to come together and have events to bring our amazing community together to show that we care for one another and be there for support,” says Stout.

“McLennan is a small community, but we have so many great people here and it is just nice to come together and do things to show that we care. The Ryders are here to support other organizations and volunteer our time to help and support.”

Approximately 67 children registered for the event and the club provided gifts for each.

Stout says the children were from newborn to 18 years of age, with younger children receiving a hand-wrapped gift and all teenagers receiving a $25 gift card.

Stout says the club is planning another very busy year of events in 2024 for the region.

“We will be hosting our golf tournament again in 2024 as well as our third Annual Show and Shine,” says Stout of upcoming events.

“This year we want to have our Show and Shine on Main Street in McLennan. We have brought it up at the last community meeting held at the town and the group is very supportive in our recommendation.”

By Emily Plihal, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Dec 20, 2023 at 10:05

This item reprinted with permission from   South Peace News   High Prairie, Alberta

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