It’s become a Comox Valley tradition.

The Earl Naswell Community Christmas Dinner is in its 37th year, and the man who started it all plans to be there, sitting at the head table.

It’s a free turkey and ham dinner with all the trimmings, held on Christmas Day at the Filberg Centre.

The doors open at 11:30am and the meal will be served at noon.

There are no reservations needed and everyone is welcome.

Volunteer coordinator Rob James said they’ve purchased 27 turkeys, 150 pounds of ham, and mountains of mashed potatoes and veggies for the dinner.

It’s all made possible by the generosity of the community.

“One-hundred percent we’re supported by local businesses,” he said. “We raised all the money from them, we get some food donated, and it’s amazing how the business community comes together. There’s so many fundraisers right now and will still never has a problem. No one ever turns us down, so it’s been pretty amazing.”

Poster for the Earl Naswell Community Christmas Dinner at the Filberg Centre. (Facebook image)

For those who need a lift to the dinner, James said they’ll have some free transportation available in the valley.

“We’ve actually got some buses donated to us,” he said

Ambassador Transportation and First Student Canada are providing the busses.

Pickup times are 10:20am at the Cumberland Library, 10:30am at the Royston Community Hall, 10:45am at the Comox Legion, 10:30am at Maple Pool Campground, and 10:45am at the Washington Inn.

James said there’s a wide range of people who come to the dinner, from seniors to single people to those who are going through some hard times.

“It’s just great to see such a wide part of the community all coming together and enjoying a couple hours on Christmas Day,” he said.

Last year, about 250 people came through the doors and volunteers had to scramble to set up two extra tables.

“We’ll be ready for them this year,” James said.