Mom arranges Christmas feast for Churchill residents as tribute to daughter
As residents of Churchill, Man., continue to struggle with soaring food prices and empty store shelves, a Winnipeg mother 1,000 kilometres south of the isolated town is working to ensure every family has a meal on Christmas.
But for Toni DeLaroque, organizing a food drive isn’t only about helping residents of Churchill – it’s also about honouring the memory of her five-year-old daughter Danica, who died in a canoeing accident in the northern Manitoba town in July 2016.
“When we lost our daughter, Churchill lost our daughter [too], and they grieved for our daughter and they’ve been absolutely fabulous reaching out,” DeLaroque told CTV Winnipeg.
It’s been half a year since flooding destroyed the only rail line into the northern Manitoba town, cutting off its 900 residents from affordable and accessible food. Working with a team of dedicated volunteers, DeLaroque hopes to pack and ship more than 100 food-filled hampers to Churchill in time for the holidays.
“Right now it’s really, really dire for them, so why wouldn’t we make an extra effort?” DeLaRoque told CTV Winnipeg.
The hampers are filled with festive foods like cranberry sauce and gravy, as well as staples like peanut butter and cereal.
With the help of donations from companies across Manitoba, there will be a community feast for 500 residents of Churchill on Dec. 23.
Feast organizer Helen McEwan said the idea for the community meal came when people in Churchill raised concerns that some families wouldn’t be having a turkey dinner this Christmas. McEwan adds that feeding a family in Churchill costs roughly $100 a day.
“It’s very heartwarming,” McEwan told CTV Winnipeg. “Sometimes we don’t know if people outside of the community care about us, now we do know.”
With a report from CTV Winnipeg