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Edmonton Oilers help bring 'the spirit up' at holiday dinner for families in need

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The Edmonton Oilers spent some time connecting with the community Sunday after practice.

Players, Hunter the Lynx and other other Oilers staff served up supper at Ivor Dent School in Beverly Heights.

The annual event is a partnership between the Hope Mission and the Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation.

"There's a lot of families that are in need, and a lot of people that might not otherwise get a special Christmas dinner," said Kevin Wiebe of the Hope Mission. "Food insecurity is up at alarming rates the last few years."

Wiebe said the meal not only helps families eat, it's also a chance for Oilers fans who can't afford to go to games to meet their home team.

"It's really special for people to be able to meet their heroes," he added.

"Typically the city's most elite individuals would be served instead of being [servers]," Weibe said. "I think it's a really really beautiful act of kindness that shows people that might be struggling that they're worthy of kindness as well."

Players helped dish out a traditional holiday meal for children and families served by the Hope Mission’s Kids In

Action program. Dinner was roast beef and all the fixings, and there was a cookie decorating station for dessert.

"I'm greatly supportive of the Oilers for what they're doing, and it's a good support for the community," said dinner guest Anthony Sears. "A dinner like this at Christmastime brings the spirit up for all the families."

This was the second year the team has partnered up for the meal, and hundreds of families took part. Right winger Zach Hyman said is was good to be back Ivor Dent.

"It's awesome to be here," Hyman said. "It's an incredible night for us, we get to give back to the community.

"A bunch of us are here, we're serving food, greeting people and just getting to know the community, so we're really excited about it."  

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