Glad Tidings feeds 350 +; a real community dinner.

Event 100By Pepper Parr

December 15th 2016



They do it every year – and each year it has grown to the point where there are very few seats available.

The event caters to part of the North West part of the city from Brant over to Guelph Line and north of the QEW the Glad Tidings Christmas dinner.

A community organizer working out of the Community Development Halton offices has built a support system that engages young people and watches out for single parents, people at risk and those who need a different kind of care.


Part of the more than 350 people who enjoyed a Christmas dinner at Glad Tidings church.

Luke who lives just off Palmer Drive and takes great pleasure in pushing the traffic light button for people is in the room. He recognizes people but is quite shy – until you reach out to give him a hug and he returns an embrace that is as real as they get.


Risha Burke

It took the organizing energy and genius of Risha Burke to create a network of churches and community groups that hadn’t worked all that well before.

There isn’t an event that comes anywhere near what this group gets done.


The food just kept on coming – so did the people.

Several years ago, when funds were being sought from the city to maintain the staffing that was in place – other council members (no need to name them) objected to this kind of work being paid for by the city. Social welfare was a Regional responsibility they said.

What Burke does amounts to building “social capacity” a structure that lets people help themselves and look out for each other. There is nothing quite like it anywhere else in the city.

There are churches that have good programs – St Luke’s Anglican is one – that tend to cater to the needs of the congregation. Glad Tiding, the church that hots the event, has a large congregation they also have one of the largest community halls in the city.

What they do works – other communities have picked up on parts of what Burke does but none of have created the reach and the depth.

The Christmas Dinner is just one event.

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2 comments to Glad Tidings feeds 350 +; a real community dinner.

  • Marnie Mellish

    There are also other churches in Burlington that host a Christmas meal and other churches that host every Friday night, Wellington Square, comes to mind.

  • Stephen White

    Great article! Kudos to the organizers for the great work and service they provide. Well done!