Raising Funds, Feeding Communities

Executive Chef Christa Bruneau-Guenther, owner of Feast Café Bistro from Peguis First Nation and Board member of Indigenous Culinary of Associated Nations (ICAN), has officially launched Indigenous Feast Boxes, a fundraising campaign designed to support Indigenous chefs across Canada and their teams by providing meal kits to Indigenous families and community members in need this holiday season.

Bruneau-Guenther said of the initiative: “Giving back to our communities includes supporting staff and securing overall future success. This fundraising campaign is a way to secure jobs but also support families, elders, people with health risks and the larger community as a whole. It’s a win-win all around.”

She continued: “The holidays can be hard financially, but they are also a time of warmth and giving. We have set a $60,000 goal to ensure Indigenous families across Canada get a healthy warm meal over the holiday season. The chefs will share ingredients and recipes for all to enjoy.”

This campaign will be shared via GoFundMe and the campaign will run until Dec. 18, 2020.

To bring the campaign to life, ICAN enlisted the support of a roster of talented Indigenous chefs and restaurants from across Canada.

Using local ingredients and inspiring the box’s contents by their Indigenous heritage and contemporary flair, each chef will create Indigenous Feast Boxes valued at a minimum of $50.00 each for a family or group of four to six people.

Families will receive boxes partially or fully prepared with recipes and cooking instructions detailing the significance of the ingredients chosen that reflect their unique culture and personality.

The chefs handpicked local Indigenous community groups to distribute the Feast Boxes to those most in need.

Joseph Shawana, ICAN Board Chair, said: “These are truly unprecedented times for our Indigenous brothers and sisters and ICAN is very pleased to be in a position to lead such an important campaign to provide much needed assistance.”

Shawana continued: “When COVID-19 hit and all our Taste of the Nations events got cancelled, we decided to redirect those efforts by funding $25,000 for the creation and distribution of Indigenous Feast Boxes. We are very proud that we can continue to share our stories and meals through this campaign. People can visit where we profile blogs, recipes and a map of Indigenous restaurants, food trucks, caterers and culinary experiences across Canada.”

Keith Henry, Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC) president and CEO, observed that: “The impacts of COVID-19 on our Indigenous tourism sector cannot be understated. This culinary fundraising campaign is an excellent example of the ingenuity and resiliency of Indigenous People and our continued effort to provide much needed support and relief to Indigenous communities who have been especially affected.”

Michele Visser, co-director Indigenous Family Centre, pointed out: “At a time when getting groceries is difficult, having all the necessary ingredients within one package made cooking a healthy meal so much easier. The portions were generous. The stew was supposed to make six servings, but it was so rich and hearty that it served six for supper and there were leftovers for the next day. The ingredients that were chosen were mostly local and the recipe was simple and well explained which made the meal easy to reproduce at a later date.”

Visser continued: “Most of all people felt special. Someone had taken the time to assemble the ingredients and tell them how to turn them into a delicious meal for themselves and their families. For people who don’t know a lot about cooking, or who don’t have a large pantry of available items, these meal kits made cooking healthy, simple and delicious. We would be thrilled to continue to partner with Feast to ensure their delicious recipes get to more families and we think it’s a brilliant idea. It affirms people by saying, “you can make this! We’ll help you! Just follow these steps,” and lets them know that they are not alone.”

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Posted in Canada, COVID-19, Events, Indigenous tourism, News, Tourism Organizations