“To St. Marys with Love” event coming December 18th

Community Christmas dinner at Pyramid Centre

  • Community   Wednesday, November 30, 2022   Stewart Grant

By Stewart Grant
Many of our readers who have a strong familiarity with Stratford will be familiar with the city's "To Stratford with Love" event and can attest that, over its 34 years of existence, this annual December dinner has grown into a strong community-building event.
This year, with the support of "To Stratford with Love" founders and organizers Richard and Ruth Kneider, "To St. Marys with Love" is being launched for the first time, led by Dave Steward of Sunset Diner and Rev. Gwen Ament of the St. Marys Presbyterian Church.
"Richard and I have discussed doing something in St. Marys for the past few years, but COVID-19 caused delays in getting it launched," Steward told the Independent.
The "To St. Marys with Love" event will be held on Sunday, December 18th – one day after "To Stratford with Love" takes place. Doors will open at the Pyramid Recreation Centre at 5:00 p.m. and dinner will be served at 5:30 p.m.
Tickets are available at the St. Marys Public Library and the Sunset Diner. Similar to the Stratford event, there is no charge for the tickets as this is a free community event that is funded by donations and the generosity of volunteers.
"We plan to serve 300 dinners at the Pyramid Centre," said Steward of the inaugural event. "Come in through Entrance D of the PRC and enjoy some roast beef, baked potato, vegetables, and coleslaw, with Fry Pies and ice cream for dessert."
Steward credits Quadro Communications & "Enduring Mission Legacy" of St. Marys Presbyterian Church for helping kick-start this first such event in St. Marys alongside other local businesses such as McLean & Taylor, Meridian Credit Union, and Vet Purchasing. And volunteer support has been forthcoming as well. "The strength of our community groups has been amazing," said Ament, "with help coming through groups including Rotary, the United Way St. Marys Community Group, the Inner Wheel, Kinettes, Kinsmen and the Lions Club. Those who wish to help with volunteering or helping in other ways are encouraged to reach out to Dave or Gwen.
The first-ever "To Stratford with Love" Christmas dinner was put together to serve those less fortunate. That first dinner was hosted at the Knights of Columbus, with about 250 in attendance. Now, the event serves in excess of 1,000 people and brings together a great cross-section of the community.
"It's not just for the needy anymore," Richard Kneider told the Independent. "The dinner is for people within the community to come together in the spirit of fellowship, regardless of social status."
Hopefully in the Stonetown, this year will be the first in an annual series of successful "To St. Marys with Love" events to come.