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Angels bring Christmas Day joy 0

By Sean Chase, Daily Observer

PETAWAWA - 

The Angels once again brought some Christmas Day joy to some area families.

Organizers estimate over 200 people attended the seventh annual Christmas Angels Luncheon at Kelsey's Tuesday.

"We have a full house," exclaimed Kelsey's general manager Kim Clouthier.

With dinners being delivered to those within Petawawa who have limited mobility, are suffering from illness or are shut-in, it's estimated the event will reach the 345-meal benchmark set last year. There was a steady stream of people attending the three-hour luncheon.

There was a festive atmosphere through the restaurant as The turkey and ham dinners, with all the trimmings, were prepared and served by staff and volunteers. With no more major deployments to Afghanistan, the dinner now attracts people from all over the community, especially seniors and those who may not have a family to sit down and enjoy Christmas dinner with.

"The word of mouth is getting out there and we're reaching a lot more people," said organizer Gloria Deane-Freeman. "We don't want anyone to be alone at Christmas."

Petawawa's Madill family once more provided some holiday music singing close to 50 songs. The group had performed during Christmas Eve mass at Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church.

"It's definitely hectic and it makes for a crazy Christmas day but it's a good feeling to give back to the community," said Samantha Madill-Cooley.

Clouthier noted that younger families were coming out to this year's dinner. While it is a sign that many could not go back home for the holidays, organizers also tried to arrange meals for shift workers who would be away from their families on this holiest of days.

"The angels are the volunteers who are here helping," said Clouthier. "Without them there's nothing."

For the fourth straight year, Carol Ann Turcotte, came out to help, along with her husband, Thaine, and teenage children, Taylor and Rebecca.

"The Christmas spirit is lost," said Turcotte who uses the moment to teach her kids about what is important in life. "It makes them realize it's just not about presents and the fanfare that goes with it. It's all about giving and showing love and the spirit of the Christmas."

The kids attending were thrilled to receive a visit from Santa Claus, who stopped by on his way back to the North Pole. NORAD reported that the right jolly ole elf delivered a record seven billion gifts on Christmas Eve.

Sean Chase is a Daily Observer multimedia journalist

sean.chase@sunmedia.ca

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