'So thankful': Interlake communities coming together to feed 450 hydro workers

A number of communities in the Rural Municipality of West Interlake are coming together to say thank you to the workers who restored their power the best way they know how — with food.

Businesses donated perogies, sausages, turkeys and buns, while individuals are baking desserts

Shirley Russell, Penny Wainwright and Dale Lloyd are helping to organize dinner for about 450 hydro workers who are stationed in the West Interlake area. (Photo submitted by Penny Wainwright)

A number of community members in the Rural Municipality of West Interlake are coming together to say thank you to the workers who restored their power the best way they know how — with food.

Penny Wainwright, a councillor for the RM of West Interlake, said businesses and community members are donating food and preparing it in their homes to feed Manitoba Hydro workers and out of province crews, on Sunday and Monday.

"That's their way of saying thank you to these guys," said Wainwright.

On Saturday, her colleague called and asked about collecting donations and supplies to cook for hydro workers.

"I said, 'Give me 20 minutes and I can probably arrange that,'" Wainwright explained.

Companies in the area donated food like garlic sausage, which will feed the workers on Sunday and Monday evenings. (Photo submitted by Penny Wainwright)

A number of businesses donated perogies, sausages, turkeys, buns an coleslaw, while individuals are providing various desserts.

Some of them are working against the odds to chip in.

"A lot of them are still out of power [and] have come into the stores and are buying stuff to bake and are taking it over to their friends' that do have power so they can bake because they're so thankful for our fellow hydro guys," Wainwright said.

"Our communities are so thankful to Hydro because we depend on it for everything."

Showing gratitude

The West Interlake area was hit hard by the storm, Wainwright said.

"We had over 800 kilometres of lines down up here. Eight hundred kilometres, not feet. I went down a 15 kilometre stretch of road two days ago and there wasn't one standing pole," she explained.

Wainwright said she and many other community members are grateful to the crews from SaskPower, Ontario's Hydro One and Minnesota Power who came to assist the Manitoba Hydro crews.

People from the West Interlake area donated food to feed hydro workers as a thank you for all their hard work. (Photo submitted by Penny Wainwright)

"These people probably wouldn't have power for weeks if it wasn't for these other crews coming to help and get us back on our feet."

Community members aren't shy about showing their gratitude.

"You see a hydro truck, they wave, they beep their horns, they give them thumbs up. They see hydro guys in stores, you see ladies walk over and give them a hug and I've seen hydro guys cry," Wainwright said.

Bruce Owen, a spokesperson for Manitoba Hydro said this meal means a great deal to the crews who have been working 16-hour days.

"I know this means so much to the people who are away from home, away from their families and are working very hard in difficult circumstances," he said.

Wainwright said she knows a hot, home-made meal can make all the difference when working outside in the cold and wet.

"If you work outside, the best thing is to come in to a hot meal and someone's made you something at home. It's so much better than out of the package."


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