KINBURN – It was a well-attended celebration as just under 70 people attended the West Carleton Diner’s Club 20th anniversary. And eat some lunch as well, naturally.
“Welcome,” the Western Ottawa Community Resource Centre’s Heidi Wieler said. “It’s a pleasure to have you here as we celebration our 20th anniversary.”
The Friday, May 10 celebration saw short on speeches but WOCRC interim executive director Richard Annett wanted to bring greetings as well.
Everything is changing around us but the one thing that isn’t changing is community and that’s happening here. (The WOCRC) is privileged to be a part of that,” he said.
The Diners Club has been around a little longer the Wieler, but she was familiar with the history of the proud tradition.
“There are two very special people here today and they are Keitha Mitchell and Colleeen Caldwell,” she said. “Both of these two ladies coordinated the Diner’s Club for much longer than I have and they wrote the book on how to do it, and how to do it well.
A three-course lunch with baked chicken as the headliner, was provided by the Greensmere Golf and Country Club which has been one of the club’s caterers over the last two-and-a-half years.
Other caterers over the years include the Lighthouse Restaurant, the Heart and Soul Café and a group from Galetta.
“For nearly all the years we have been going, a very special group of women have put their time and talents to work creating home cooked meals to serve the diner’s guests,” Wieler said. “They are the Lorne Sutherland Women’s Institute from the village of Galetta. Would you ladies please stand or wave as we express our thanks.”
Wendy Knechtel from Island View Retirement Residence, Julie Munro from Orchard View by the Mississippi in Almonte and Rebekah Gunning from Carp Commons were also special guests of the event.
“For so many years, local Retirement Residences have pitched in to sponsor entertainment, provide meals, host us for events, give us door prizes etc.,” Wieler said. “Representatives from these residences have become well known to you as they have been a source of information on a wide variety of topics and most importantly developed a rapport so that you would be empowered and comfortable to ask for information if you ever needed it.”
Kieler also thanked several other sponsors and vounteers that have all made the diners’ club’s longevity possible.
The club unofficially launched in the new year of 1999. A potluck meal was held at the Huntley Curling Club. Maika and Adele Muldoon were ‘called in’ to assist the group and keep the idea going.
By March the Country Lunch and Learn was started at a retirement home in the Dunrobin area. In June the West Carleton Council hosted a Diner’s Club in the township hall. Township staff helped prepare the food and the event was held there for several years.
“Eventually the Lorne Sutherland Women’s Institute became involved with hosting the WCDC on the fourth Friday of the month at the Galetta Community Centre some time in 1999 or 2000,” Wieler said. “This lunch alternated with the one held at the Client Service Centre Site.”
The Dunrobin Women’s Institute also hosted the club for some time. Shortly after amalgamation the club moved to the Memorial Hall in Carp. Around 2003, the club moved to a space with more accessibility at the Carp Mess Hall.
Colleen Caldwell became the coordinator in 2005 and it was decided the club should be held at rotating venues in the community. Kinburn was added as a new site. The 10-year Anniversary was celebrated in 2009 at the Galetta Community Centre.
“Colleen continued in her role as coordinator until her retirement in January 2017,” Wieler said. “In February of that year, I was hired as a service coordinator and was pleased to learn I would be responsible for this program. As you can imagine it is no small task to run a lunch and program of this size, well not quite this size every two weeks. The Diner’s Club volunteers have been invaluable in supporting the staff of the centre to carry out their work and we are so grateful for their time, hard work and support.”
Wieler hopes to be a part of the club for years to come.
“The diner’s program, in whatever shape or form it has had over the years, began as a grass roots initiative to get older adults in the community together for support and to reduce isolation,” she said. “I do believe we can say we have had 20 wonderful years and that is worth celebrating. Let’s hope for many more together.”