A few Thanksgivings ago, My Sisters’ Place, a women’s shelter in London, had about 250 guests arrived.
“That year really shocked us, we were almost sending [people] out for take out,” said Susan Macphail, Director of Community and Women’s Programs at the Canadian Mental Health Association Middlesex. She explained the chefs at the shelter usually serve up to 140 women a day, but they can never predict. Either way, they want to make sure no one is left hungry.
The women’s shelter asked for turkey donations on social media, and Macphail said they’ve received three turkeys since the original post.
“We do provide a hot meal every single day, but we’d like to do something special at different times of the year, to just have something to celebrate. Thanskgiving seems like a perfect occasion,” she explained.
She added many of the women who go to My Sister’s Place are “either on the street, or in shelters, or they may be couch surfing , or maybe they’re actually sleeping down by the river, or in between buildings downtown. Some of the women who come to My Sisters’ Place do have housing, but perhaps the housing is not safe or it’s very insecure,” Macphail explained.
“Maybe all the money they have is going towards rent, and there’s no money left really for food, never mind to create something as nice as a celebratory feast.”
Along with the dinner, the women will do other activities, such as writing down what they are thankful for on cut out leaves from construction paper.
“These are women who have very little in their lives, and yet they’re expressing a real deep sense of appreciation for just the warmth of the sisterhood together, the beautiful food, to have a place they can come where they feel safe, and that they live in Canada, a country that enjoys all the privileges and freedoms that we do.”