TBWMC holiday hampers contained a collection of foods and more.The Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) Thames Bluewater Métis Council (TBWMC) “Gifts of Food and Culture,” initiative coordinated the distribution of holiday hampers of food and more to 35 Métis families, a total of 116 people on this past November.

“These days, it is more important than ever for people to be grounded in our culture and traditions and to feel connected,” shared TBWMC President Kathleen Anderson. “We felt that by including a bit of culture with the food, people will feel less alone and isolated. This is especially true for our seniors who often live alone or for people struggling a bit with financial and health worries.”

Included in the hampers were:

  • maple syrup (from local farm Blakes Maple Products)
  • whole free range chickens (from local Métis farm Three Ridges Ecological Farm)
  • potatoes, carrots, and onions (Ausauble Produce and Earth Fresh Farms)
  • stewing beef for making “Riel Stew” (from Mount Brydges Abattoir)
  • ground beef (from Norpac)
  • chicken quarters (from Mount Brydges Abattoir)
  • flour for bannock
  • sugar
  • apple sauce
  • spoons for kids under 15

Also included in the hampers was Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), MNO Healing and Wellness program information, and MNO colouring and activity books for kids provided by MNO Education and Training staff.

“We would normally gather this time of the year for a Christmas dinner, but we know that was not on the table this year,” shared Anderson. “So, in September we tried to figure out what we could do to help everyone celebrate Métis culture and provide some uplifting support for our Citizens and still stay safe.”

Anderson credited the hard work of the TBWMC for the program’s success. The Council was quick to organize and mobilize the available resources to ensure all local MNO Citizens felt included.

“Everyone on the Council participated in this project to help our Citizens,” she said. “And it was very well received! All the vendors gave us good pricing when we explained what we were doing. So, we were able to make our money go farther and provide everyone with a really nice hamper.”