As the leaves start to change colour and the autumn breeze rolls in, October is the time to look back to give thanks. Excitement is seen on faces to share a tradition called “Thanksgiving.” This once a year event is important for many at CRC because it is a moment where everyone can come together for a holiday meal. This year opened our doors for more than 350 community members in the Regent Park community.
Upon entering, welcome greetings and music filled the space. The room was decorated with beautiful pieces of fall décor by volunteers. There was a quick opening to welcome the community and to say thanks for the food. With smiles all around, staff and volunteers served salads, a full turkey dinner, pumpkin tart desserts and complimentary coffee. Everyone dived in together to experience the taste and feeling of Thanksgiving.
When asking some of the community members what they thought, it was all thumbs up. Food was the biggest hit of the night as people wanted to meet our community chef, Norberto Cáceres. He was the mastermind who brought all the flavours of Fall together. Two children wanted to meet Norberto as they described both the salad and dessert, “awesome!”. Of course, they both held their thumbs up as they said it with their mouths full of food. Other aspects included telling stories that reminded members to be thankful. Two members from the Cook Ahead Program at CRC said they enjoyed being around people that show they care. One said she “felt a sense of belonging.” Some members took turns at requesting songs to be played by Brianne Swan, who performed throughout the evening.
As the event came to an end, staff and volunteers took time to say goodbye to each individual and offered take out boxes with lovely food. Friends and families felt this event is one they would attend again next year. With stomachs full and hearts content, people left with memories of this wonderful night.
A big thank you to all the volunteers from Rosedale United Church and friends, and the staff whose logistic coordination and helping hands brought warmth and care to this annual community event. This special event is one among many at CRC that continues to touch lives in a positive way.
By Hamshaa Sivaruban, Food Skills Program student placement