Thanksgiving feasts feed Winnipeg's less fortunate

Several Winnipeg groups made sure no one went hungry this Thanksgiving weekend.
Several Winnipeg groups and charities are doing what they can to make sure no one goes hungry on Thanksgiving. 1:35

Several Winnipeg groups made sure no one went hungry this Thanksgiving weekend.

The first Got Bannock village feast was held at the at the Indian and Métis Friendship Centre on Monday evening. (Alan Braverman/CBC)
Holiday feasts were held across the city, including the annual Thanksgiving meal at Siloam Mission, which brought more than 1,200 people to the shelter for a sit-down dinner featuring turkey with all the fixings between noon and 2 p.m.

"It was awesome [and] I'm really, really smiling and very full," Mona Beardy said with a laugh.

"I think after when I get home I'm just going to fall asleep right away."

Beardy said she was homeless at one point and is now thankful to have a home.

She added that she's been coming to Siloam Mission for years and is grateful for the fellowship and the food there.

​"To have a place like this and for the wonderful staff of Siloam Mission to put a dinner like this, because a lot of us Winnipeg people can't afford dinners like this," she said.

Siloam Mission staff told CBC News there has been a 10 to 20 per cent increase in the number of people attending this year's Thanksgiving meal, including many working poor and their families.

Colin McManus said he is grateful to get a free meal while he's in between jobs.

"I just appreciate … them doing this for the people and it's very nice," he said.

Mission staff and volunteers had been getting ready for the annual dinner for the past two months, but preparations got into full swing on Sunday.

Volunteers prepare cookies and other Thanksgiving foods at Siloam Mission in Winnipeg on Sunday. (Alana Cole/CBC)
Volunteer Kayla Chafe, who made cookies on Sunday afternoon with her four-year-old son, Damon, said she wanted to teach him the importance of giving back to people in need.

"We are all in this together and, you know, we never know when we're going to be that person that needs help," she said.

"So if we don't open our hearts and give to others, then we can't expect that in return."

The food list for the big meal included, among other things, 150 turkeys, 500 pounds of potatoes, 120 litres of  homemade gravy, 140 pounds of stuffing, 1,500 buns, 140 pies and 1,000 tea bags.

And of course, there were pies — 140 of them, in fact, along with 24 litres of whipped cream.

Lighthouse Mission offered its Thanksgiving meal to people in Winnipeg's core area on Friday.

'Bannock Lady' hosts village feast

Meanwhile, a new event took place Monday evening with the Got Bannock village feast at the Indian and Métis Friendship Centre.

"Trying to bring more humanity back to the poverty-stricken and let people know that we care," said Althea Guiboche, who regularly provides food to the city's homeless as the Bannock Lady.

"There are people that are willing to work their hardest in order to make sure that they don't suffer like that."

Guiboche said donations of food and clothing would be given to those who need them, including "people who don't have the means to celebrate this time of year, to buy these big turkeys, to even afford a new coat or boots."