53 accept Penticton woman's offer of free Christmas dinner | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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53 accept Penticton woman's offer of free Christmas dinner

Ashley Fagan, Matthew Smethurst along with their kids Julia and Kai will be hosting a big Christmas dinner.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Ashley Fagan
December 28, 2019 - 2:35 PM

She built it, and they came.

Well, technically Ashley Fagan roasted, baked, boiled and broiled the ingredients of Christmas dinner, feeding 53 Penticton men, women and children who may have otherwise been without a holiday celebration.

“Fourteen people were seated and we had that restaurant-style,” Fagan said, Saturday, just a few days after the feast.

The rest was take-out and in total 53 people went in and picked up a Christmas meal.

“People would show up (and) we would get my friend to seat them at the table. We had homemade menus and let them pick what they wanted to eat and we served them,” she said.

The family kept their home open to guests until 9:30 p.m. because most on their initial list did not show up.

So, she posted online about having the meal and people kept coming.

“(There was) not a single incident whatsoever,” she said, addressing concerns raised by the public about the potential risks associated with the dinner invitation she made in the lead up to Christmas.

“My hubby and I had it cleaned up at the end of the night...even all the children played. I had a couple of friends (who) stayed throughout most of the night with their children, so the kids had a lot of fun, too.”

Over and over again, though, she said she believes in what she's doing and that the kindness she's extending will be returned.

Her initial offer was made in the first week of December.

“Our family is opening up our home on Christmas day for a hot meal and a warm place to eat it. Our treat. We might not have much but we will welcome you with open arms with our friends and family,” Fagan posted online at the time.

“(You) must love animals and kids, of course, but (I'd) like to offer anyone in need a lovely Christmas environment with love and music...let me know if you like to be a part of it.”

At the time, Fagan said that the offer was  "nothing, really."

“I like to help people when I can... I don't think people should be alone or hungry especially on Christmas,” she said.

Glad that she made the offer, Fagan said she can see herself doing it again in the years ahead.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Kathy Michaels or call 250-718-0428 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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