Charging one week, complimentary the next


By Sheila Runions

      Banner Staff


On Saturday, Dec. 6 Rivers and Area Lions Club held a pancake breakfast before the annual Santa Claus parade. The organization charged for that meal but exactly one week later (Saturday, Dec. 13) they provided a free supper to area senior citizens.


The breakfast consists of pancakes and sausages but supper was much more elaborate — turkey, dressing, cranberries, potatoes, gravy, turnips, coleslaw and dessert (Christmas cake and ice cream). Less (fewer?) than 70 people paid for breakfast yet Lions did not complain when their free supper was served to more than 200! There were 144 people seated in Rivers Legion Hall, 33 meals were sent to Riverdale Health Centre for staff, personal care home residents and rehab patients, 23 take-outs were delivered and 37 supper workers served (237 total).


One can only guess at the cost of all this food but Lion members continued to display the Christmas spirit on Dec. 13 because they also gave out $1,000 in donations! Rivers Handi-transit provides free rides for seniors so the club offset that expense with a $250 donation; Rolling Dale Enterprises makes centrepieces so Lions paid for them with a $250 donation; Rivers Safe Grad committee sent half their students* to assist in serving, cleaning, etc. so that organization was also paid $250 for their service. Riverdale Harvest and Rivers Christmas Cheer were each surprised with an unsolicited donation of $150. The Lions’ giving did not end there because they turned to Rivers Baptist Church and provided their leftover food for use at the church’s community outreach banquet the following evening.


Aeleen Sclater played her harp before and during the meal while Brittany MacDonald (formerly of Rivers) and her boyfriend Dylan Woodcock (Brandon) acted as official entertainment. They sang three Christmas carols before Santa Claus arrived to provide a box of chocolates for every person.

Reeve Evan Smith extended greetings and admitted the evening was “bittersweet” because not only was it his last official duty, but it was also the last meeting for Daly’s council, held earlier that day. Town of Rivers councillor Shelley Foster reiterated that sentiment, saying that after four consecutive years as the senior citizen representative, she had to relinquish that duty as she opted not to run for council in the new Riverdale Municipality. Glenna Beauchamp was next to speak and she made the crowd laugh when she expressed a hope that 2014 was not her last year to act on behalf of Rivers Ministerial Association. As president she offered “blessings to all from the five churches in town,” and then said grace.

Approximately 50 businesses provided gifts which were given to those who had their number drawn. Four door prizes were awarded to Don McFadden (snowman centrepiece), Kathy Roberts (poinsettia), John Jordens and Audrey Ashton (two free tickets each, to a Wheat Kings game).


Wally and Pat Hillier lived in Rivers for 40 years and moved to Portage la Prairie two years ago. They returned “home” for this annual event because Wally has not missed one supper in the entire 36 years. Wally became a Lion in 1976 and is now a member of Portage Lions. 


* There are only 14 Grade 12 students at Rivers Collegiate Institute, making it the smallest class on record; the seven student helpers were Nikoda Holopina, Rhett Turner, Quinn Robins, Jeriah Wurtz, Logan Bridgeman, Holt Wood, and Jon Klippenstine.