Day 9: Long-standing Kitchener-Waterloo CI dinner tradition continues

The holidays can be a difficult time of year for people, so Kitchener-Waterloo Collegiate and Vocational School (KCI) wanted to make the season a little brighter one hot meal at a time.

For more than 20 years, KCI students, with a little help from staff, have put on a free holiday feast for members of the greater school community who struggle to make ends meet.

“It is a very humbling experience,” said Lexi, a Grade 11 KCI student and first-time community dinner student volunteer. “This event has had a big impact on me. The stories and conversations I have heard throughout lunch have opened my eyes to how much of an impact we are having on them. I think every student should take the opportunity to immerse themselves in their community, get to know different people, lifestyles and backgrounds, and give back.”

KCI students serving the hot lunch.

Outreach and leadership students wrote letters to local business asking for food or monetary donations to help support this long-standing, community tradition. With their help, the school was able to serve more than 500 hot meals, each plate filled with turkey or ham, mashed potatoes, gravy, vegetables, a bun, salad, and dessert. Volunteers served a total of twenty 20lb turkeys, fifteen hams, two hundred pounds of potatoes, dozens of bags of frozen vegetables, coffee, hot chocolate, and tea, which was donated and served by DAVIDsTEA employees.

Students connected with local organizations such as St. John’s Kitchen and St. Mark’s Lutheran Church to let people know that the event was happening and to provide tickets in advance.

Part of the goodie bags included a stuffed toy.

Not only did students, staff and volunteers serve food to guests, they also performed live music, hosted free child-care, collected admission tickets, and served guests coffee and juice while they waited in line. In addition to the hot meal, each guest was sent home with a gift bag filled with a bus ticket, gummies, a box of granola bars, Tim Hortons gift card, a pair of socks from the Toasty Toes campaign, and so much more.

A huge thank you to Kitchener-Waterloo Civitan Club for donating $2,000 to help make this event possible.

Well done, Raiders, for giving back to your community and sharing in the spirit of the holiday season.

KCI students collecting lunch and raffle tickets.


We are counting down 12 days of giving where we feature some of the wonderful acts of kindness our staff and students are modelling during the holiday season.

You can check out all of the great acts of giving in our schools (there’s more than just 12) by following us on TwitterInstagram or Facebook.

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