Grade 10 students Prabjot Multani and Aeron Arabis have seen other students take part in their school’s annual community Christmas dinner, but this year, they got to help run the show.
Multani and Arabis, who are the co-chairs for the Tamanawis Christmas Community Dinner, worked with the rest of the leadership students at Tamanawis Secondary School to host the annual community dinner on Thursday (Dec. 6) for those in need.
Multani, who has had an older sibling take part in the dinner, said it was a great experience.
“Because when you see other people volunteering, you want to be a part of the effort and when you’re actually a part of it, it feels really good,” Multani said.
For Arabis, he said it’s “amazing” to be able to give back to the community and to families in need.
“It’s just a great feeling to feel like you have a chance to give and show love to everybody,” Arabis said.
The two said that not only being co-chair of the event, but even just getting to plan the dinner has given them a lot of experience.
The dinner, said leadership teacher Debbie Mackenzie, has been going on for 21 years.
“It was started by students. They came up with the initiative years ago,” she said. “It was much smaller then. It was about 150 (people) and they had one seating, and slowly, it’s morphed into something bigger every year.”
Mackenzie said there were two dinners on Dec. 6 with about 150 people at each dinner.
“It’s something families look forward to every year,” she said. “We really try and focus on families.”
Mackenzie said Tamanawis works with some of the “neediest” elementary schools in the area and Options Community Services to help find families to serve at the dinner.
While the dinner was in the first week of December, Mackenzie said planning started several months ago.
“This class does everything. We start in late October and the students who want to lead the various activities, have to prepare a speech and present to the class as to why they should be selected. We have two chairs, Aeron and Prabjot, and then we have chairs of food and entertainment and we have chairs for promotions and fundraising, we have chairs of the toy drive and Santa’s workshop,” she said.
“They go around and get donations, they plan everything out, they plan the theme.”
The dinner included entertainment from the fine arts department, crafts and pictures with Santa. Mackenzie said the entire evening was “a really big school effort.”
But it’s not just the school that gives time and donations, Arabis said the community and local business help to give back by donating items and funds.
“A lot of them, they really appreciate what we’re doing and what the class is doing and how the school is helping out,” he said.