About 200 students at Tamanawis Secondary are gearing up to feed 330 hungry residents on Tuesday night at their 15th annual Christmas Community Dinner.
Students from two Leadership 10 classes have been getting everything ready for the event, which helps feed low-income families and also provides toys and entertainment free of charge. They will hold two sittings, one at 5 p.m. and the other at 6: 30 p.m.
To date, the dinner has fed more than 4,300 Surrey citizens.
"Essentially, we start mid-October," said Julie Do, the student in charge of promotions. "The entire class works on this until the actual dinner. Everything is busy up until the date."
Within the two Leadership classes, the Grade 10 students divide up the responsibilities for promoting the dinner, purchasing the food, finding the live entertainment and gathering the toys.
They have been actively lobbying local businesses for donations and have recruited 87 sponsors, including the Peace Arch-White Rock Rotary Club, Real Canadian Superstore, Home Depot and Mr. Mike's Steakhouse.
"The great thing about it is it's totally student led," said McCallum. "Myself and the other Leadership teacher, we basically stand back and our whole objective is to be pretty much invisible for the night.
"My Leadership class runs it, but the culinary arts does all the cooking and then we have a dance team, slam poetry team, the choir, the jazz band - everyone puts this huge night on."
Students at Tamanawis and surrounding elementary schools held toy drives to collect thousands of stuffed animals, gadgets and games for children. Santa Claus will give out the toys and kids can even get their photo taken with St. Nick, courtesy of the school's photography class.
The purpose of the dinner is to show others that they can organize these types of events to help the less fortunate in their neighbourhoods.
"Our goal is to spread awareness that other groups can do what we're doing for our community," said Do.
McCallum added that, through organizing the community dinner, the students are becoming more responsible and mature while also learning the true meaning of Christmas.
"They're starting to get it now, but after the night, they'll understand how much more valuable and rewarding it is to give as opposed to receive," he said.