Bea Peters (left) and Melissa Ranger share a laugh before spreading good cheer.

Spreading mayo, mustard and good cheer

Four strangers band together to feed Quesnel’s homeless during the holidays

When Melissa Ranger went to pick up her Christmas turkey at the end of December, she realized she had made the classic mistake of buying one far too large.

She and her husband Jim might have big appetites, but they were going to have far too much left over to possibly finish by themselves.

“What are you going to do with a 21 pound turkey when there’s only two of you?” she asked.

While finishing up some Christmas shopping on Reid Street, Ranger popped into BB Rox and struck up a conversation with owner Bea Peters.

“Melissa said she was thinking about cooking the turkey and making some buns and handing them out to the homeless,” Peters recalled.

“Then I said, you know what? I’d like to help you with that.”

Peters has volunteered with The Postmen, a non-profit charity organization, in the past, but said she thought Ranger’s idea would be a little more hands-on and grass roots.

“I wanted to actually be there to give to the people hand-to-hand.”

Ranger says she was “gobsmacked.”

“It was like a light came on for both of us.”

Ranger invited Peters over to her house on Dragon Lake to help prepare the sandwiches and make some goodie bags.

Peters posted on Wild Women of Quesnel’s Facebook page to see if anyone else was interested in getting involved.

“There’s all kinds of like-minded women and we do what we can to help others out. We post things and encourage each other and do whatever we can in the community,” Peters said.

Tawny Salter and Dawn Cameron saw the post and thought it was a terrific idea, so threw their respective hats in the ring and showed up to the Ranger household ready to contribute.

Ranger got Safeway to donate 50 buns and they were ready to go.

Four women who did not know each other at all joined together over the holiday season to spread a little cheer.

The charitable folk made what looked like delicious turkey kaisers and filled brown paper bags with oranges, muffins, chocolates and candy canes as well as a napkin and juice box.

Once finished, the ladies drove downtown and handed out the bags to those who looked in need.

The foursome hope to make the event a tradition.

“I have never in all my years being here, and I’ve been here since ‘74, seen homelessness like there is now. It’s really sad,” Ranger said.

“So instead of complaining about it, it’s better to help out.”


Dawn Cameron (left) and Tawny Salter responded to a Wild Women of Quesnel post asking for help making sandwiches for the homeless. Ronan O’Doherty photos

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