The Salvation Army in Quesnel provided dozens of take-home turkey dinners with all the trimmings on Friday, Oct. 7, to mark Thanksgiving.
Nikki Flood smiled as she packed a boxed meal in a bag for guests who were able to grab themselves a coffee and several packaged food and bakery items from a table.
While it was not the usual sit-down dinner, volunteers, including Ruth L’Heureux, Maxine Kalinski and Paul and Delaine Milette, worked behind the scenes to help pull it off, making turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberry, apple crisp and more.
Flood guesses between 80 to 90 lunches were handed out.
Lieutenant Tamara Randlesome said by continuing their bagged lunch program, which was initiated at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, they will be able to move forward with renovations.
While details on the renovations are limited, Randlesome noted the renovations would reflect new programming that will be in place.
“We’re looking at implementing the Pathway of Hope that helps meet the need underneath the surface,” she said.
The Salvation Army notes on its website that Pathway of Hope focuses on identifying and addressing root cause issues for people living in poverty. It is a high-impact strengths-based case management approach to providing targeted services to people with a desire to take action to break the cycle of crisis and vulnerability.
Randlesome said they are seeing an increase in the number of people visiting them for a bagged lunch.
“We have families, we have seniors, we have children — we have all age groups coming to receive food, and they’re sharing with us the struggle to be able to afford food.”
Despite the increased demand and the ongoing struggle with donations at food banks across Canada amid high inflation and rising food prices, Randlesome said generosity in Quesnel is at its highest.
The BC Thanksgiving Food Drive was held from Sept. 19 to Sept. 24 and collected 8,192 pounds of food for the Quesnel Salvation Army, an increase of more than 300 pounds from last year.
Randlesome was appointed lieutenant this past July and arrived from Winnipeg.
“I really love the community here,” she said. “There’s so much potential for growth here, so I’m excited to be a part of the community and see where we can grow together.”
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