Carnegie Center in Vancouver’s low income Downtown Eastside had it’s annual Boxing Day feast on Dec. 26th. Free of charge, you could get a sit down turkey dinner in the theatre. Santa was there too. Everyone coming out of the dinner was carrying a gift, a GEAR sports watch. One woman had not had hers for more than 20 minutes before somebody absconded with it. 

The woman had gone upstairs to the Carnegie Learning Center and was showing people her new watch. She set it down for a moment — it was still in the box — when she got up to show her friend a news article. Presto! The watch vanished.

A man quickly gave her the watch he had just gotten from Santa at the dinner. He said he doesn’t wear a wristwatch and had been keeping an eye out for somebody to give his to.

Even though the woman left with a watch, friends say she was shaken after being the victim of such a brazen theft.

The Carnegie Learning Center is preyed upon by thieves. Recently, teacher Betsy Alkenbrach had her wallet stolen from her office. A few months earlier a technician from Vancouver Community Net was very shaken after having his laptop stolen. And Learning Center students still recall the time a few years ago when a new computer printer was purchased and had yet to be bolted down when somebody walked out the door with it.

A digital camera was also stolen this month, from a woman who had an art display in the gallery/lobby area adjacent to the Learning Center. 

But no thief could steal the turkey filling the stomachs of everyone leaving Carnegie’s annual Boxing Day dinner. Four people reported that the dinner was tasty. They were pleased that it was a traditional turkey dinner, unlike in recent years when the Boxing Day dinner has been ham or roast beef.  Although the dinner was free, to get a ticket you had to have a Carnegie membership card which costs a dollar a year.

In addition to turkey, each plate served had on it a mix of light and dark meat, gravy, mashed potatoes, breaded dressing with raisons and celery in it, and mixed corn, peas, carrots, and little cubes of turnip. For dessert, there was cake with raisons, apricot, and nuts in it. Also coffee and apple juice.

There were two regular musicians from Carnegie playing Christmas background music on guitars at the dinner. But it wasn’t actually in the background. The impression I got from people was that the music was nice but a little too loud. Music and television being played at ear damaging levels is an ongoing problem at Carnegie.

Carnegie Director Ethel Whitty joined other staff to serve plates of food at the Boxing Day dinner. There were three sittings in the Carnegie theatre of about 80-100 people each.

But at the last sitting at 6 p.m., some people with advance tickets got turned away. Carnegie had run out of food.

 

Another education-related article by janefromvancouver: Int’l Boycott of Vancouver High School Diplomas  

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