Turkey, jigging and Santa all part of homeless Christmas feast

An afternoon turkey dinner in Thompson Nov. 28 attracted as least 50 homeless people who received care packages and took part in a jigging contest as well as getting their photos taken with Santa.

Organized by the First Nations Health and Social Secretariat of Manitoba (FNHSSM) along with Keewatin Tribal Council (KTC), the event could not have been held without the assistance of partners and sponsors, said FNSSHM communications specialist Renata Meconse.

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KTC staff members in Thompson helped set up and decorate the hall, while Fran Budd provided catering services and the event was also supported by Kevin White and Michelle Urbanowski of Work Place Solutions. Homeless shelter staff helped shuttle people to the dinner, which was held at St. Lawrence Hall.

Meconse said FNHSSM reached out to donors earlier this month because they didn’t have the funds to pay for the event themselves. They held bake sales and sold raffle tickets and received donations, including one of $1,000 from a First Nations woman originally from Ontario now living in Alberta.

“We really appreciate those who have donated,” said Meconse.”It’s definitely teamwork."

All attendees at the Thompson dinner received a care packages with long johns, tuques, mittens, toiletries and hand warmers. FNHSSM is organizing another Christmas dinner for homeless people in Winnipeg.

“What makes it really special is the actual day itself,” said Meconse. “That’s what makes it worth it.”

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