Connor McDavid is used to serving up powerful backhand shots and tape-to-tape saucer passes but on Friday night, the hockey superstar took his serving skills off the ice and helped hundreds of Edmontonians in need receive a Christmas dinner.
McDavid was joined by teammates and administrative staff with the Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation as they teamed up with Hope Mission, a local non-profit social care agency, to feed between 300 and 500 people dinner at the Lawton Junior High School gym in the central Edmonton neighbourhood of Beverly.
“I definitely grew up in a family where Christmas was always a special time and (for) most families it is, but there are definitely families that it’s a struggle and it’s a hard time to maybe put a nice meal on the table so it’s nice to give back and have a meal here,” McDavid said.
The meal was specifically meant to feed children and families served by Hope Mission’s Kids in Action program.
“The Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation has been active in the community since 2001. Since that time we have delivered over $30 million back into the community,” Natalie Minckler, executive director of the Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation, said. “The Hope Mission and the youth centre that they provide support to is one of the programs that we’re very happy to support.
“Christmas dinner is all about family, sharing laughter, sharing good times with family and of course there’s typically a wonderful meal involved with that too.”
McDavid said he hoped events like the Hope Mission dinner ensure everyone gets to have a special holiday Christmas meal.
“It means so much to me to have my family and have a nice meal on Christmas and all that,” he said. “I definitely couldn’t imagine not having that and this gives families that maybe couldn’t, an opportunity to have that.”
Minckler said the Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation spent about $5,000 towards putting on the dinner.
“Our economy has had some tough economic times on individuals and families and so anything that we can do to bring people together to share a festive meal, to share each other’s good spirits and warm laughter is something that we’re delighted to help out in.”