Bobby's Place and the Spirit of Sharing

Robert Thomas

Over at Bobby's Place, the spirit of sharing Christmas with others is alive and well. Their traditional free Christmas dinner is in its "13th or 14th year," said an uncertain Kevin Haakenson who co-owns Bobby's with his wife Monica, who was the brain child behind the idea of hosting a meal.


"We felt there was a need for it and so we started to do it," Kevin said. The meal is put on so nobody has to be alone at Christmas.

Kevin stressed the inclusiveness of the meal. "We don't discriminate, anybody is welcome to attend. We don't judge people...we get a pretty good cross-section of people could, be poor people, rich people or lonely people. Or maybe someone driving by whose car broke down and they need a good Christmas dinner" Kevin said.

For instance, attendees could be single dads who might find it "pretty impossible to cook a good supper."

Kevin said they don't get a lot of people with families because many of them get Christmas hampers through the Salvation Army,  but they are welcome to come if they chose to do so.

Both Bobby's Place is supportive of St. Andrew's United Church, who also hosts a free supper. "There's a need for both of us in the community" Kevin said.

Although Bobby's Place provides the meal for free, any donations people make are given to the Riverside Mission and the Moose Jaw Transition House. 

Over the years, Kevin has heard some things which make him happy to keep up the tradition.

He spoke of overhearing a family with two young boys who were ecstatic to get to eat two meals in one day. Another was a woman who cried when they gave her a poinsettia (donated by Evan's Florists). Nobody had given her flowers before.                                                                                          

"We are here helping people not by just giving them a meal, we are helping them emotionally,' Kevin said.

All the work was done voluntarily, usually taking up to 12 volunteers, either preparing or serving the meals. Volunteers included staff members as well as regular customers. Preparing the traditional meal of turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, stuffing and gravy is usually about a two day affair.

Over the years the number of people attending has ranged between 130 - 160 people.

Bobby's has long held it that no guest should leave on an empty stomach; they've been known to fry up fish and chips if all the turkey gets eaten. Thankfully, there was enough turkey this year.

The frigid weather is no obstacle for attendance at Bobby's Place's Christmas supper; they also provide free transportation.

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