Ashley Smethurst and her husband Matthew and children Julia and Kai helped prepare over 230 meals for people in the community for Christmas this year. (Contributed)

Ashley Smethurst and her husband Matthew and children Julia and Kai helped prepare over 230 meals for people in the community for Christmas this year. (Contributed)

Penticton family gives back with hundreds of Christmas meals for the community

The Smethursts cooked and delivered over 230 meals

It took a week of preparation and a week of cooking, for Ashley Smethurst and her family to serve up more than 230 meals to people in the Penticton community this holiday season.

In 2019, the family invited those who didn’t have family of their own to join them for Christmas dinner, but COVID-19 made it impossible to do that again.

READ MORE: Family opens home to strangers for Christmas

Instead, beginning in August, Smethurst started organizing and posting on Facebook to let people know they had an option for Christmas. Then came the planning, the prepping, cooking, and finally delivering the food.

“There are so many grateful people,” said Smethurst. “For some, it might not be much, but for others, it means everything for them.”

Ashley, her husband Matthew, neighbour Nana Dee, and two volunteer delivery drivers dropped off the meals. Most were delivered on Christmas Day, while the Smethursts delivered a few dozen more on Boxing Day to people around Victory Church and the soup kitchen.

“I am also 17 weeks pregnant with our rainbow baby,” said Smethurst. “So it definitely took a lot out of us, but was totally worth it.”

Twelve turkeys went into the dinners, along with many pounds of vegetables, potatoes and cranberries.

The family also took to the streets in November to deliver holiday treat-bags of home-baked cookies, kettle corn and more.

READ MORE: Penticton family hands out 200 treat bags to neighbours

The family is ready to do it again next year, although they aren’t sure if they’ll be making as many meals as they did this time.

“It’s a family tradition now,” said Smethurst. “The need depends on if COVID is still hurting our community. I noticed last year without COVID, there were only 53 [who came to dinner] so there was a much bigger demand this year.

“If people are hungry, we will feed them.”

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Christmas holiday