Growing up in the distant past, many of us can remember the excitement of a Christmas breakfast with all of its special goodies. Pancakes were quite often the centerpiece and kids could hardly decide which was more exciting, the tree or the breakfast.
For the past 19 years, a local event has helped remind us that Christmas is a time of giving. The Santa’s Breakfast at the Prestige Hudson Bay Lodge is a wonderful opportunity for all of us to help fill the food bank at the Salvation Army and enjoy a wonderful breakfast with more than a few of our friends and family.
Besides that great meal, among other things to enjoy are great local music groups, wagon rides and more. Of course, we can’t forget our special friend Santa.
The wonder of those youngsters who eagerly look forward to the Christmas season with their families is another part of the breakfast that is easy to see. The lit up eyes when they speak to Santa show the joy that we all try to remember as we grow up.
This is the fourth time that Daniela Bork of the Lodge has been in charge of organizing the breakfast.
“There are a lot of full bellies, a lot of happy kids and Santa is happy so it’s a success,” she said.
Bork was more than pleased with the help coming from the community.
“It’s always amazing to see the amount of volunteers who come in and help us out. The entire event is run by the volunteers and organizations that volunteer their time. We have music groups such as Sweet Harmony and the Bulkley Valley Youth Fiddlers,” she said.
The Sea Cadets, the RCMP and a variety of other local organizations lend their services as well.
For some volunteers it seems to be inked into their calendars years in advance.
“Some have been coming year after year. We don’t even have to tell them. They just show up on the day and its just amazing,” she said.
For a community the size of Smithers, the numbers are incredible. Bork estimated that there were around 800 people — if not more — this year.
The event provides much more than just a full stomach. In addition to the breakfast, there were horse wagon rides, the Salvation Army Bouncy Castle, the musical entertainment, a colouring contest, raffle tickets.
“We have great prizes. All the volunteers get entered to win prizes. There’s lots going on,” she said.
Bork pointed out that the donations of non-perishable food go to the Salvation Army to fill their food bank well into the new year. In addition, funds from the raffle tickets also go to the Salvation Army.
“The staff here looks forward to this event every year. They donate their time. They are not paid to be here today. Even people who are on maternity leave come to help out. It’s a fantastic event,” she said.
Bork also wanted to thank all of the sponsors without whom the event wouldn’t be possible.