A club in Nackawic, N.B., is defending its image after a Christmas dinner at the club’s location left more than 30 people ill and one dead.

More than 100 people attended the Dec. 5 turkey dinner, which was hosted by a local church. After eating, more than 30 people became sick.

Bessie Scott, 87, died days later from gastrointestinal illness.

Two different illness-causing bacteria were later found in food samples collected from the dinner, the province’s acting chief medical officer of health, Dr. Jennifer Russell, said in a statement.

Now, Brian Toole, the president of the Nackawic Lions Club, is trying to mend the club’s reputation. He says the church, not the Lions Club, provided the food that night, but people have mistakenly blamed the club for the unsafe meal.

“It was an unfortunate incident,” Toole said. “But the Lions Club and their food preparation, we had nothing to do with it.”

The Lions Club kitchen is inspected on a regular basis, and members have taken government-sponsored food safety courses. Now, they are also considering requiring groups renting the space to take the same precautions.

Despite these measures, Susan Sangster, who oversees Lions Clubs in New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Maine, says she is concerned the high-profile turkey dinner will hurt the organization’s reputation throughout the region.

“It doesn’t matter where an event like this happens,” she said. “It impacts.”

The church that hosted the event declined to comment on the situation. Public Health Officials were also unavailable to speak.

With a report from CTV Atlantic