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Carenage Committee Celebrates Boxing Day with Meals for All

The relatively small group of folks chatting over their meals at a table in the concession stand at the Joseph Aubain ballpark Thursday afternoon belied the activity going on behind the scenes at the Committee for the Betterment of Carenage’s first Boxing Day community luncheon.

The CBC has been busy for weeks preparing for Thursday, when it provided a substantial meal for anyone who spoke up. That is to say, the event had been publicized to one and all.

Gail Danet-Joseph, CBC secretary/treasurer, took a few minutes out from behind the concession counter to talk about the project.

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"We started food preparations last night and we’ve all been here since really early today cooking,” said Danet-Joseph, who looked happy for the break. “We’re serving ham, turkey, roast pork, chicken or fish, and that comes with potato stuffing, potato salad, rice and vegetables."

She said by about 2:30 p.m. they had served close to 300 meals. "Not all here," she said. "We have delivered lots of meals to folks in the village."

She said the CBC began thinking about doing something for Christmas last year after the Father’s Day weekend celebration which the organization traditionally sponsors in Frenchtown. "We decided on Boxing Day to extend the Christmas season, to carry on the spirit," Danet-Joseph said.

And the season’s spirit lived on. Boxing Day, or Christmas second day, had the ballpark gussied up with a bright yellow and white striped tent in front of the 28-foot tall Christmas tree, which takes a place of honor, for dancing. The concession area was filled with the instruments of Cool Sessions Brass, which had donated its music for the evening.

Jaleel Robles, the group’s drummer, was busy late in the afternoon setting up his shiny green drum set, getting everything just right. The 23-year-old seemed excited for the gig, one of his first with Cool Sessions. "I’m a Rising Stars alumnus," he said with a big smile. If enthusiasm is a factor, it looks like he’ll be a hit.

Franklin Sewer, CBC vice president, had said earlier in the week that meals would be provided to the less fortunate, senior citizens, persons living alone or anyone who desires lunch on the day after Christmas.

It’s not just the homeless who benefit from the community meals served at Thanksgiving and Christmas. Salvation Army officers have observed that lots of folks whose spouses have passed find the camaraderie at the open meals a source of comfort.

Sewer explained that many in the community are alone and without family or friends during this holiday time and CBC wanted to provide for them. He acknowledged that the business community had warmly received the committee’s requests for donations of the food items.

The CBC traditionally supplies all the presents for Santa to give out at the annual Frenchtown Lighting of the Tree, also at the ballpark, which is sponsored by the Frenchtown Civic Organization.

Danet-Joseph said they even had toys left over this year. "We gave them to the Junior Firefighters and Kidscope," she said. Kidscope is a local child-advocacy program.

On Dec. 13, CBC members presented a donation of linens and toiletries to the residents at Ebenezer Gardens home for independent living. A similar presentation was made to residents of Sea View Nursing Home.

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The relatively small group of folks chatting over their meals at a table in the concession stand at the Joseph Aubain ballpark Thursday afternoon belied the activity going on behind the scenes at the Committee for the Betterment of Carenage's first Boxing Day community luncheon.

The CBC has been busy for weeks preparing for Thursday, when it provided a substantial meal for anyone who spoke up. That is to say, the event had been publicized to one and all.

Gail Danet-Joseph, CBC secretary/treasurer, took a few minutes out from behind the concession counter to talk about the project.

"We started food preparations last night and we've all been here since really early today cooking,” said Danet-Joseph, who looked happy for the break. “We're serving ham, turkey, roast pork, chicken or fish, and that comes with potato stuffing, potato salad, rice and vegetables."

She said by about 2:30 p.m. they had served close to 300 meals. "Not all here," she said. "We have delivered lots of meals to folks in the village."

She said the CBC began thinking about doing something for Christmas last year after the Father's Day weekend celebration which the organization traditionally sponsors in Frenchtown. "We decided on Boxing Day to extend the Christmas season, to carry on the spirit," Danet-Joseph said.

And the season's spirit lived on. Boxing Day, or Christmas second day, had the ballpark gussied up with a bright yellow and white striped tent in front of the 28-foot tall Christmas tree, which takes a place of honor, for dancing. The concession area was filled with the instruments of Cool Sessions Brass, which had donated its music for the evening.

Jaleel Robles, the group's drummer, was busy late in the afternoon setting up his shiny green drum set, getting everything just right. The 23-year-old seemed excited for the gig, one of his first with Cool Sessions. "I'm a Rising Stars alumnus," he said with a big smile. If enthusiasm is a factor, it looks like he'll be a hit.

Franklin Sewer, CBC vice president, had said earlier in the week that meals would be provided to the less fortunate, senior citizens, persons living alone or anyone who desires lunch on the day after Christmas.

It's not just the homeless who benefit from the community meals served at Thanksgiving and Christmas. Salvation Army officers have observed that lots of folks whose spouses have passed find the camaraderie at the open meals a source of comfort.

Sewer explained that many in the community are alone and without family or friends during this holiday time and CBC wanted to provide for them. He acknowledged that the business community had warmly received the committee’s requests for donations of the food items.

The CBC traditionally supplies all the presents for Santa to give out at the annual Frenchtown Lighting of the Tree, also at the ballpark, which is sponsored by the Frenchtown Civic Organization.

Danet-Joseph said they even had toys left over this year. "We gave them to the Junior Firefighters and Kidscope," she said. Kidscope is a local child-advocacy program.

On Dec. 13, CBC members presented a donation of linens and toiletries to the residents at Ebenezer Gardens home for independent living. A similar presentation was made to residents of Sea View Nursing Home.