Marylynn Rakuson cooked a test turkey in the kitchen of the Cominco gym on Wednesday. By the time 200 Trail and area pioneers gather in the gym tomorrow (Thursday)

Serving seniors Christmas dinner, a Local 480 tradition

Trail Legion ladies are roasting 160 pounds of Christmas fowl for their senior guests on Thursday afternoon.

How many turkeys does it take to feed a gym full of hungry guests?

And how many turkeys is that over 27 years?

Considering this year alone, the Trail Legion ladies are roasting 160 pounds of Christmas fowl for their senior guests on Thursday afternoon. So if that is any indication, then well over 4,000 pounds of bird have been basted and baked since the Local 480 Christmas dinner for seniors began in 1989.

The short of it is, no matter how many pounds of turkey and potatoes or litres of gravy and fixings have been served over the years, the day is special for Trail area seniors and United Steelworkers Local 480 merrily covers the tab.

“It is our way of being involved in the community,” says Local 480 President Armindo de Medeiros. “Some of the seniors are ex-members of ours, so it’s a way to give back to the community.”

The union takes care of the logistics as well. They hire Trail Transit to pick up 200-plus seniors from their care facilities and drive them to the Trail Memorial Centre then the city and Local 480 members escort the guests to their dinner table.

From approximately 4 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. de Medeiros asks drivers for their patience as seniors are assisted from the bus to the gymnasium.

One westbound lane will be closed during this time and flaggers will be on site for safety.

Once inside, the seniors are treated to performances by the Kate E. Shaw School of Highland Dance students and traditional Scottish music from the Trail Pipe Band afterwards dancers and musicians help with serving the meal.

By far, one of the highlights of the evening is a visit by Santa and the goodies he brings, says Trail Legion member Marylynn Rakuson.

“Everyone gets a tin of shortbread cookies,” she began. “One year I asked a lady if I could carry her cookies, and she said ‘No,” Rakuson laughed, gesturing how the lady hugged the tin to her chest. “They just love getting those cookies from Santa every year.”

In all, Trail Legion members are serving eight 20-pounds turkeys, peeling 120 pounds of potatoes and 50 pounds of carrots, whisking up over 25 litres of gravy, tossing three large bins of salad and buttering 20 dozen buns as well as plating dozens of jars of pickles, olives and of course, cranberry sauce.

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