Canadian Food and Wine Institute students, staff and faculty are cooking up some Christmas spirit.
In support of the De Divitiis family Spirit of Christmas dinner, volunteers at Benchmark restaurant are preparing donated food for over 800 Christmas meals, complete with turkey, ham, stuffing, veggies, potatoes and cobbler for dessert, to be given to those in need at Gord’s Place in St. Catharines on Christmas Day.
Beginning Wednesday, Dec. 20, students worked alongside staff and faculty in preparing over 300lb of donated turkey, 200 lb of ham, as well as stuffing, potatoes, veggies and more in support of the dinner. The preparations continued at the CFWI to Friday, Dec. 21.
This is the second year Baker/Patisserie Apprentice Dakota Braun has participated in the Spirit of Christmas preparations. She said that while a lot of work goes into preparing over 800 meals in two days, “everyone works really well together as a team, and it’s all in support of something good.”
Preparing the holiday feast for this annual event has become a tradition for staff and students at the CFWI. College president Dan Patterson and his wife Saundra have also been volunteering on Christmas Day at this event for several years.
The annual Spirit of Christmas Dinner event in St. Catharines offers a free holiday meal in a festive atmosphere to those who attend, which often includes the homeless, and those facing financial challenges, as well as people without families and newcomers to Canada.
Along with the De Divitiis Group, Niagara College is a lead sponsor of this year’s event.
the Benchmark crew also prepared meals for over 150 children at the Boys and Girls Club of Niagara’s annual Christmas meal. On the menu were Mashed Potatoes, Turkey, Ham, Corn, Stuffing and Gravy, Buns and Butter. Benchmark also attended the event to help serve the meal alongside Boys and Girlds Club board members. Pictured are Chef Alex White, Benchmark Restaurant Manager Sarah Scott, students Vivian (Van Ni Van), Travis Campbell, and Michael Piccolo