The Amazing Christmas Feast

Dec 21, 2012

Wimpy's owner Amin Chowdhury, Chef Dino Chleros and Sashes Rashan

They’ve been cooking turkeys night and day for the last ten days at Wimpy’s Diner on Kingston Road in preparation for the Amazing Christmas Feast, a wonderful tradition to help those in need over the holidays.

It’s expected that approximately 700 people in the community will stop by Wimpy’s on Sunday for a free turkey dinner with all the trimmings, including mashed potatoes, vegetables, stuffing and cranberry sauce.

After the meal, people are invited to St. Nicholas Church for coffee, desert and a visit with Santa Claus, who will pose for photos and have a wrapped gift for every child.

The Amazing Christmas Feast started five years ago, but this is the first year for Wimpy’s new owner, Birch Cliff resident Amin Chowdhury.

“I’m really happy,” says Chowdhury, who is carrying on the tradition started by the previous owner. “It’s a time of year when everybody would like to help the community.”

Coffee, cake and Santa at St. Nicholas Church, 2011.

A community partnership

The Amazing Christmas Feast is a partnership between Wimpy’s, St. Nicholas Anglican Church and Birchmount Bluffs Neighbourhood Centre.

Special invitations are issued to people in need, including all of the families who qualify for a Christmas hamper through the BBNC Share Christmas program.

But the event is open to anyone in the community experiencing any sort of need, according to Deb Chapman, Pastoral Associate at St. Nicholas Church:

“We just know that at Christmas time there are people struggling financially, they may be challenged physically because of illness, they may be struggling emotionally with depression and loneliness.  They might have lost a partner or a loved one so it changes the dynamic of this festive season.  There could be spiritual needs as well.”

Last minute preparations

Chef Dino Chleros checking the turkey at Wimpy's Diner

Wimpy’s was bustling with activity yesterday in preparation for the event.

Waitress Heather Poirier was hanging decorations while chef Dino Chleros was basting two of the four turkeys he’s been cooking every day for several days now.

“It’s wonderful, especially around Christmas time. I really enjoy it,” says Chleros.  “We have eight people in the kitchen and a lot of orders going out.  It feels good to give back.  We all volunteer that day so it’s a good experience.”

Waitress Heather Poirier adding Christmas cheer to the decor at Wimpy's Diner

Regulars volunteer too

Feeding 700 people in a restaurant that seats 46 is no small feat.

The families with invitations have slotted arrival times but the restaurant also deals with walk-in traffic and free take-out orders.

Chleros and the rest of the staff will getting help on Sunday from Wimpy’s regulars who always stop by to lend a hand.

All of the food has been donated, with the turkeys coming from Wimpy’s head office.

The Amazing Christmas Feast takes place Sunday December 23rd from 4pm – 8pm at 1496 Kingston Road, at Manderly.

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