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Our Place Society Thanksgiving meal creates bonds of family, despite lack of volunteers

Meals were served cafeteria-style by a team of six kitchen staff

Our Place Society provided clients with a fill of turkey, stuffing, veg and potatoes in honour of the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday.

“These holidays are really about family. And for so many people who are on the street, we’re their family,” said society communications director Grant McKenzie. “For some people, (Thanksgiving dinner) can be a memory that comes back, while for others, it’s a new memory that’s created.”

Wednesday’s feast wasn’t as much a spectacle as it had been in years past, said McKenzie, who added that he missed the annual volunteering help of politicians and other figures who were absent this year given COVID-19 protocols. In a usual year, “they get to have one-on-one conversations with people, get to hear how so many people are just one or two paycheques away from this happening to them, and how thankful people are for the services that are available,” he said. “It can, in a small way, even influence policy.”

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Instead, about six kitchen staff experienced in feeding hundreds of people experiencing homelessness served this year’s Our Place Thanksgiving dinner cafeteria-style. Plates included turkey, mashed potatoes, mixed vegetables, stuffing and cranberries. McKenzie said the society expects to feed as many as the 500 people housed throughout their Greater Victoria shelters.

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