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Feast brings families together

Lisa Scott
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Dec 17/04) - The Porter family took up almost a full table, with three-year-old P.J. eating turkey while his sisters enjoyed dinner opposite him. Mom Georgina and cousin Peter completed the domestic scene.

Turkey, ham, duck, stuffing, potatoes and all the Christmas trimmings were part of the feast at the annual YWCA dinner recently. Ten-year-old Barbara Porter and cousin Peter were happy to fill their plates.

Recently arrived in Yellowknife from their home of Gjoa Haven, the Porters were among approximately 200 people at the annual YWCA Christmas dinner recently.

Georgina was happy to bring her brood out for the celebration.

She and her family are clients of the YWCA, living in their emergency housing. The organization offers transitional housing for people in need of a place to stay.

"They are very supportive of families and children," said Georgina.

With 800 clients serviced by the YWCA on a regular basis, the Christmas party is a way to get them and staff together, according to Florance Peddle, co-ordinator for children and youth.

"At the YWCA we consider ourselves a family and this is the way we can all be together," she said.

The 100 staff members brought their families and the crowds flanked both sides of the buffet table. Santa visited later in the evening with presents for all the children.

The 5 p.m. dinner party lasted until after 10 p.m, but that was fine with Peddle.

"There are a lot of people that this might be the only Christmas dinner they get," she said.

The YWCA serves the needs of many people in the community, from people with disabilities, women using the Allison McAteer House, to those using the emergency housing.

Peddle, who cooked up a couple of turkeys, potatoes, cookies and other goodies -- adding to the food cooked mostly by staff members -- fielded happy comments throughout the evening.

"They were so pleased and that makes it all worthwhile," she said.