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Ahousaht First Nation brings convoy of food for Victoria's homeless

Nov 24 2012
John Campbell and Darlene Dick serve soup and sandwiches at Our Place as part of two First Nations traditional feasts. 

John Campbell and Darlene Dick serve soup and sandwiches at Our Place as part of two First Nations traditional feasts.

Photograph by: Lyle Stafford , Times Colonist

A convoy of caring - about 50 vehicles stocked with food and clothing - arrived at Our Place in downtown Victoria Friday.

Leading the way were members of the Ahousaht First Nation, based at Clay-oquot Sound, who packed up donations at home and added many more as they made their way south.

This is the third time the Ahousaht people have made the journey to Victoria with the makings for a feast, said chief councillor Curtis Dick.

Their effort acknowledges the fact that more than 25 per cent of the clientele at Our Place, a haven for the poor and homeless, are aboriginal.

That includes a number of people from Ahousaht, Dick said.

He said the trucks were filled with halibut, cod and salmon, turkey and ham, as well as potatoes and other vegetables.

"Donations have come in from all over the place."

He said it was a long, rewarding trip to Victoria.

"We left Tofino [Thursday] on our water taxi, then we stopped in Port Alberni to pick up donations, also in Nanaimo."

The cargo also held coats, winter footwear, toiletries and sleeping bags.

"You name it, we had it," Dick said.

"Our purpose is really just to lift the spirits of not only our community members, but others that are living here on the street.

"We want to really give support and connect with them."

He said the gesture is also a way of thanking Our Place for what it does for aboriginal people, and others who are dealing with personal struggles.

The generosity of the Ahousaht and other Nuu-chah-nulth groups behind the day's events provided enough for a lunch and a dinner.

About 800 to 1,000 meals were served.

Our Place executive director Don Evans said the clothes and other items filled the building's chapel, which became a distribution point.

First Nations drumming and other entertainment was also part of the day.

"It's letting people know that they're loved and cared for," said Evans.

jwbell@timescolonist.com

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