TORONTO -- A group of Indigenous chefs and charities from across Canada have launched a fundraising campaign to provide warm meals for Indigenous families in need over the holidays.

The Indigenous Culinary of Associated Nations (ICAN) is raising funds in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic to create Indigenous feast boxes which will include locally-sourced ingredients inspired by Indigenous heritage. 

Families will receive a box prepared with recipes and cooking instructions describing the significance of the ingredients in their kit.

Each province will have a unique box of items curated for their specific region. For instance, in Manitoba, the boxes will include roasted turkey wild rice stew, baked bannock or bison.

Chefs will create meal kits valued at least $50 each for a family or a group of four to six people.

Christa Bruneau-Guenther is a home cook turned restaurateur from Manitoba who helped spearhead the fundraising efforts. She launched a campaign on the online crowd-funding platform GoFundMe with a goal of $60,000 that will go directly to food, labour and distribution costs to feed as many families as possible.

Bruneau-Guenther says that by donating to the campaign, Canadians are not only helping families in need, they’re also supporting local farmers and kitchen staff.

“Because of COVID people are trying to find ways to help out or give back and this is a great opportunity for people to help and make a difference in the community,” she said in an interview with CTV News.

The campaign is set to run until Dec 18. As of Tuesday night, the GoFundMe had amassed nearly $5,000.

The project has already received $25,000 from the ICAN, which redirected funding from a series of culinary events that were cancelled due to COVID-19. 

“We are very proud that we can continue to share our stories and meals through this campaign,” ICAN Board Chair Joseph Shawana said in a statement.​