1985 was the birth of the “Christian Academy and Ministries” a group of enthusiastic, charitable people who as part of their outreach to the community held a free Christmas Dinner for individuals who might find themselves in need of a friendly face and a wholesome meal on Christmas Day. The first dinner was held in McMartin House, but as the attendance was more than expected, it was decided that the following year the dinner would be held in the larger Farrell Hall. Farrell Hall became the place where the dinner would be held for the next 21 years. In this time the attendance grew to more than 150 including meals delivered.
For the first eleven years meals were served to individuals as they remained seated. At the beginning, the Christmas meal was entitled “Loving and Giving” . In 1996 an eager, local gardener presented a very large hubbard squash and as the sight of this 40 lb squash was rather appealing the style of serving was changed to buffet style so the squash could be seen as it was served out of its shell. More recently, it was felt appropriate to call the event the “Perth Community Christmas Dinner”.
In 2007 the Christmas Dinner was held just once at the Factory Grind in the old Brown Shoe Building. In 2008 it was moved to the Code’s Mill Building where the dinner has been served since then.
In 2012 the dinner was renamed the “Perth Community Christmas Day Dinner” and the serving style reverted back to service directly on the plate as it is expected there will be less waste using this method.
In 2013, the committee responsible for the annual Community Christmas Day Dinner has formalized its organization and is now known as the Perth Christmas Dinner Association.
The Perth Community Christmas Day Dinner event continues to be operated by volunteers with financial and food support from local businesses and the community, and although those who fund, organize and attend the event may change from year to year the mission remains the same: to invite everyone in the Perth community to enjoy a wholesome, free Christmas meal on Christmas day and to welcome one and all as a very special guest.