Match-up provides Christmas dinner experience

Match-up provides Christmas dinner experience

NeighbourLink initiative brought Summerlanders together for Christmas

The fourth annual NeighbourLink Christmas Match-up brought Summerlanders together for a special holiday experience.

The match-up, organized by NeighbourLink, connected people who would otherwise be alone for Christmas with families seeking to host others in their celebrations.

“It was quite overwhelming this year,” said Mirjana Komljenovic, community coordinator for NeighbourLink Summerland.

Last year, eight people participated, with more hosts than guests. This year, a dozen guests called the service organization to have their names on the guest lists.

“Everyone had a place to go at Christmas this year,” Komljenovic said. “Anyone who doesn’t want to be alone for Christmas in Summerland doesn’t have to be.”

NeighbourLink collects names for the host and guests lists in November and December.

Once people have put their names on the guest list, NeighbourLink arranges for the host to contact the people and personally invite them to Christmas dinner.

Angela Squires participated as a guest for the first time this year.

“I don’t have family here,” she said. “I thought it was a wonderful idea.”

The host family, with nine children and seven grandchildren at the dinner, provided a warm, welcoming atmosphere for Squires.

“I would encourage others to do it,” she said of the NeighbourLink Christmas Match-up.

She said the experience felt good from the start and the atmosphere around the table was positive.

Komljenovic said she was pleased with the response to this year’s match-up.