Canada News

Winnipeg charity feeds hundreds of city’s vulnerable with Easter lunch – Winnipeg |


Chatter, warmth, and the aromas of hot gravy and turkey wafted around a packed room at a Winnipeg charity Monday afternoon, as hundreds hunkered around paper plates for an Easter lunch.

Expecting about 700 people to drop by, Tessa Blaikie Whitecloud, CEO of Siloam Mission — an organization helping people experiencing homelessness — said preparations started two months ago.

“I know (we) had 240 turkeys. I think close to 300 pounds of potatoes. And I just remember looking at all of the cabbage and thinking, ‘That’s a lot,’” she said.

Whitecloud said within the first half-hour of the event, 750 plates had been loaded up with turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, coleslaw, cranberry sauce, veggies, buns and cabbage.

However, she says the meal is about more than food.

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“It’s also an opportunity for (people) to connect to the celebration of the promise of Easter,” she said, and, “to be able to celebrate that promise of hope and renewal.”

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Alex Thomas, one of Siloam’s senior support staff, said he recognizes 70 per cent of people at the meal from the organization’s drop-in centre, and from nearby shelters.

He said this Easter lunch is important to their humanity.

“It’s important just to show that people care, and get together on a human level, and ground level, just sharing space with the community (and) break down barriers,” he said.

“A lot of people come here just to see connection,” he said.

Whitecloud said because of cost inflation, this year’s meal was a little more expensive and budgets had to expand, “but the donors really came through and made it possible for us.”

She said every day, Siloam serves three meals and always needs volunteers to give a helping hand.

“If folks are inspired and want to come volunteer on the line in the kitchen, you can do that for a birthday party. You can do that as a corporate group. Obviously you can do that on a day like today, but you can do it every day,” she said.

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Click to play video: 'Food prices up heading into Easter, expert says; Winnipeg charity feeling pinch'

Food prices up heading into Easter, expert says; Winnipeg charity feeling pinch

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