Sharing Christmas with strangers through NeighbourLink match-up

Sharing Christmas with strangers through NeighbourLink match-up

Summerland initiative matches hosts and guests for special Christmas dinner experience

Most people will say Christmas is a time for family, friends and loved ones. But what happens if you find yourself unable to be with them for the holidays?

There are a variety of reasons why a person could be on their own Christmas Day. If you are one of these people, consider contacting NeighbourLink. They will match you up with a welcoming family for a joyful Christmas dinner.

This is a great opportunity for you make connections and some fun memories.

“Take a risk, take a chance, meet someone new,” says coordinator Mirjana Komljenovic.

This is the fourth year the event will take place.

“This started from a need,” she recalled from the beginnings of this project.

It had been suggested that the organization put on a community Christmas dinner so people alone on Dec. 25 would have a place to go. They realized that the means to accomplish this wouldn’t be easily achievable. It was then suggested at a board meeting that families could take in strangers for the holiday.

This new idea was warmly welcomed by members of the community and by other towns.

When you volunteer to be a host family or to be a guest, NieghbourLink can provide the services to make the best connection possible. Whether you have physical limitations, dietary needs, or pets to worry about, they will accommodate each person involved.

Over the years it’s often found that there are more hosts than guests to take in.

There can be a lot of apprehension and vulnerability in putting one’s name on the guest list. However, Komljenovic strongly encourages that it’s a risk worth taking. She has seen positive impacts and friendships made with this simple concept.

“There is no inconvenience caused by joining another family,” she said.

There are many people who are excited to learn a stranger’s story. She’s even seen people who invite others over for Christmas dinner without the help of the organization since this began.

It has been a growing experience each year that it takes place, and you can easily see the ripple effect that it has.

If you would like to be a guest, or invite one to share your meal, call 250-404-4673 by Dec. 21 to be matched.

Komljenovic reflects on Christmas no longer being solely a family experience, but a community one instead.

“You’re not alone, not in Summerland at least,” she said.

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