In early December I posted a request for help.
Usually about 3 people read my blog, including me and my mom. But this time something touched a chord.
I asked you to help me raise a little bit of money so I could build “kits” of cooking-from-scratch essential tools that I would present to women who are living in an Edmonton second stage domestic violence shelter.
I was floored by the response (here’s article about my gob-smackedness in Metro News) . Thousands responded, forwarded, retweeted, reposted, liked, commented on my call for help and dozens volunteered and donated. I would come home from work and find piles of things at my front door!!
Coordinating these kitchen kits is the very least I could do to pay forward the kindness and many supports I’ve received over the decades. As a child of an abusive home, I remembered what it was like to feel alone in the struggle to heal (believe me, you get there eventually!!). Physical, emotional and sexual violence isn’t something we talk about every day. But far too many people experience it every day.
Those with the guts to move on are champions to me. So the 9 women living at LaSalle shelter were almost an entire football team of champions!
About $3,400 and dozens of items were donated. I shopped frantically for 3 days after work (thank goodness for friends with vehicles that can hold quantity). Keeping our eye on the prize we bought “9 of everything” so that we could create 9 identical gifts for all the women.
For a few days, my house was over run with piles of 9 of everything. Many friends came to my home to help build the kits. I gave each volunteer a cookbook and a jar of thank you pickles (using the recipe we taught at the very first shelter class).
Ultimately, we created 9 of the most spectacular gifts we could give to these champs.
The day we handed out the presents was our last class at the shelter and Terra Madre Day – a day of global action where every community in the world is invited to do something that connects local food, community, economy, joy and sustainability. Myself and a team of Slow Food Edmonton volunteers prepared food, shared stories and stood shoulder to shoulder with these women. Laughter and warmth was in abundance.
The meal was a spectacular, traditional British Christmas meal: roasted turkey, mashed potatoes, giblet gravy, carrot and parsnip mash, brussels sprouts…the whole shebang.
My friend Jerry (twitter.com/zoomjer) made a wonderful video summary of the experience. I can’t believe it all happened in the span of only 6 days.
There was a lot of great media that came out to support the event. Watch and read a few here:
Global TV (very cool, this aired several times on Christmas EVE!)
Edmonton Journal story written by Liane Faulder
Edmonton Woman Magazine (starts on page 8 and continues on page 36).
THANK YOU to all involved for the kindness you share, the gifts you give and the community you build. I’m so honoured to be a part of it all.
There may be more classes coming up at the shelter…how could I possibly stay away after this?!