Christmas at the Café returns to the Truro Farmers’ Market for the seventh year. The dinner is open to anyone and everyone in the community, with doors opening at 2 p.m. and the dinner being ready around 4 p.m. The dinner is free. Submitted photo

TRURO – The Truro Farmers’ Market will be a bustle on Christmas Day, offering up a turkey dinner with all the fixings for anyone who wants to come together.

“What we’re providing is community, and the meal is just an excuse,” said Aaron Stevenson, who has been organizing the dinner with his wife since they owned a café in Bible Hill. “The dinner is for the community, organized by the community, and supported by the community.”
Years ago, the free dinner was born out of the recognition that Christmas can be a lonely and depressing time of year for many people.

“It could be lack of family, or financial pressures – there are all kinds of reasons,” said Stevenson. “One of the best ways to help with that is by bringing people together.”

When Christmas in the Café first started, Stevenson said there were roughly 35 to 40 people involved – from those volunteering at the event to participants. Last year, about 250 meals were served.

“It takes an army for sure,” he said, adding they don’t look at it as volunteers and recipients.

“We are all part of this community. Some people want to come help, and they’re encouraged to, but we want them to participate as well. That’s what brings us all together.”

He said anyone who wants to volunteer can do so, for as little or as long as they can. There are always places to lend a hand the day of, and with so many other commitments on Christmas Day, the organizers recognize that.

“They can come when they can and stay as long as they can,” he said.

Things will get underway at the market with doors opening at 2 p.m.

“It will be a full afternoon,” said Stevenson, adding there will be live music, appetizers, snacks, and treats until the meal is served when ready – usually around 4-4:30 p.m.

“People are encouraged to come and spend the afternoon with us.”

By hosting the annual event, Stevenson there are so many memorable moments.

“There are so many faces we get to see, and stories we get to hear. It’s being able to talk to so many people and hear their stories, and share in their conversations,” he said.

One memorable moment comes from international students attending the Dalhousie Agricultural Campus.

“They had never experienced a Canadian Christmas before, so we were able to share that experience with them. It’s the spending time with people and meeting all the different people.”

Last year, 25 turkeys were served up, and Stevenson expects it to be much the same this year. Along with the farmers’ market being on board, Aroma Maya will be serving coffee, and Robert Langille from the Cobequid Educational Centre’s Career Exploration Program (CEP) is part of the leadership. Students in the program will be assisting with the dinner.

NovelTea Bookstore Café is also a drop-off point for anyone wishing to make a donation – whether it be gift card, monetary, or food for the event.