burnaby now december 30 2011
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DESCRIPTIONBurnaby Now December 30 2011
Christmas was a lot brighter for hun-dreds of Lower Mainland folks, thanks toa popular pasta restaurant in BurnabysHeights neighbourhood.
For the past two decades, Antons PastaBar had been closed for Christmas Eve inorder to open its door to the regions mostdestitute.
Frank Leone, Antons general manager,has been involved in the dinner since hestarted with the restaurant 16 years ago.
It just started when one of the serv-ers suggested we do this for the needy,
and the owner,Tony Mauro, heagreed it wouldbe a good thingto do to givesomething backto the communi-ty, Leone said.
A n t o n sinvites all ofthe clients fromBurnaby FamilyLife, a non-profitgroup that helpslocal families.
The restaurant also spreads the wordthrough various groups that help peo-ple in Vancouvers Downtown Eastside.Guests have included young families, sin-gle moms, women escaping violence, andnew immigrants.
With roughly 500 dinner guests, thisyears event was probably the biggest yet,Leone said.
Preparation for Christmas Eve oftentakes place three to four weeks in advance,and the dinner gets underway two or threedays before Dec. 24, Leone said. Staff andvolunteers pull together to make sureeverything runs smoothly.
The doors open at 10:30 a.m., and peo-ple are often already lining up outside therestaurant. If thats the case, Leone saidthey are invited in for a coffee.
Dinner is a set menu, with pasta, twopieces of chicken, dessert and coffee, tea orother beverages.
In the morning, the staff and some vol-
unteers hand out socks and warm hats tothe dinner guests. They also put out boxesof clothes in the restaurant for anyone whoneeds them.
Young families start showing up in theafternoon. Theres also a special treat forthe children: a visit from Santa completewith gifts.
Families who sign up for the dinner inadvance can indicate how many childrenthey have, how old they are and theirgender.
That information helps Antons collectage and gender appropriate toys ahead
of time for the kids. Customers and staffdonate the gifts.
Little kids love it because Santa Clausgoes up to them. Its very emotional thing,Leone said.
For the past 20 years, Antons has beenorganizing the Christmas Eve dinner withlittle fanfare.
For us, it makes us feel good. It makesus realize how fortunate we are comparedto some people, and we want to givesomething back to the community forsupporting us, Leone said. Its just tosee people happy. We want them to
be treated with some respect and dignity,whoever they are.
Jeanne Fike, executive director atBurnaby Family Life, said the organiza-tions clients love it.
It is their Christmas to go to Antons,a restaurant they wouldnt be able toafford, get wined and dined and get pres-ents for their children, she said. The chil-dren and the parents are just absolutelymoved and thrilled, and it really makestheir Christmas.
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Burnabys first and favourite information source Delivery 604-942-3081 Friday, December 30, 2011
Spreading cheer and kindnessPopular Burnaby eatery opensits doors during the holidayseason to lend a helping hand
Its just to seepeople happy. We want them tobe treated withsome respect anddignity, whoeverthey are.FRANK LEONEgeneral manager
Christmas kindness: Eliana Calogiros hands out a present to Nizam Ramji at the annual Christmas dinner at AntonsPasta Bar. The Burnaby restaurant has been opening its doors on Christmas Eve to feed people in need for two decades.
Jason Lang/burnaby now
Dinner Page 8
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Last weeks questionDo you have a favourite familyfestive recipe?YES 60% NO 40%
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Vote at: www.burnabynow.com
9 Eyeing Burnabys future 10 Top 5 Things To Do 11 Wisdom of elders
We began our look back at the head-lines of 2011 in the Wednesday, Dec. 28edition of the Burnaby NOW.
Below, we continue our look at the sto-ries that made headlines in Burnaby overthe past year, starting in April
APRILGarth Evans announced his plans to run
as the Liberal candidate for the Burnaby-NewWestminster riding in the 2011 fed-eral election.
New Democrat Peter Julian was the MPfor the riding at the time and won the spotagain in the election.
Nikkei Place began collecting cashdonations for the Red Cross JapanEarthquake Relief fund, following the mas-sive quake and tsunami in Japan on March11.
Seniors advocate Gloria Kravac wonBurnabys Kushiro Cup for the 2010Outstanding Citizen of the Year. Theannouncement was made on April 4, andshe received the award at an annual appre-ciation dinner on May 6.
The provincial government announcedit was giving Burnaby child-care centresmoney to help ease the impact of all-daykindergarten. Thirty-four local centreswere given a one-time payment of roughly$45 per licensed space.
The government distributed the money more than $49,000 in Burnaby to helpcentres deal with lower enrolment becausemore five-year-olds attended full-time kin-dergarten in 2011.
Police and fire crews investigated asizeable sophisticated synthetic drug labon April 8 in Burnaby.
A 42-year-old Burnaby man was one ofthree people arrested in the investigationinto the activities at the house in the 8200-block of Manson Drive.
Members of the RCMPs f