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Truro parish cooking up help for Guatemala

A vast selection of dishes from different countries was available at Saturday’s Multicultural Night, including food from China, Australia, Hungary, Colombia and Guatemala, among others. While most foods were prepared beforehand, some were made on site, giving a glimpse into the craft behind the food.
A vast selection of dishes from different countries was available at Saturday’s Multicultural Night, including food from China, Australia, Hungary, Colombia and Guatemala, among others. While most foods were prepared beforehand, some were made on site, giving a glimpse into the craft behind the food. - Cody McEachern

TRURO, N.S.

Foods of the world were served hot and ready at a charity multicultural feast in Truro Saturday.

Immaculate Conception Parish held its ninth annual Multicultural Night to raise money for their Guatemala Outreach Project, which builds new clay brick stoves for families in Guatemala.

“Around nine years ago, a priest who was here suggested we have a multicultural night to raise funds for Guatemala,” said Lesley Payn, a volunteer with the parish.

“Since then, we’ve raised money for the stoves by bringing all these countries and cultures together in one place. They all cook food at their own expense and bring it here to give people a taste of their culture’s food.”

Food from different countries was featured, including China, Australia, Hungary, Columbia and Guatemala, among others.

Money raised by the Multicultural night purchases new stoves to be installed when volunteers return to Guatemala in March.

“The volunteers pay out of pocket for their own flight and expenses,” said Payn, “so all the money made on this project and other projects goes directly to funding the building of the stoves. They’ve also installed playgrounds down there, and one year they even built a medical centre.”

Outside of the Multicultural Night, the parish holds New Year’s Eve events and charity performances at the Marigold Cultural Centre, on occasion, to aid the effort. They also take donations.

“The stoves need to be built because the people down there are just using an open fire inside their huts,” said Payn.

“From the smoke building up inside, they are now suffering from respiratory infections and diseases. It’s just not a healthy way of life.”

While food was definitely the main draw of the event, there was a pub where ticket holders could wash down their food, and a silent auction which included items such as an autographed Wayne Gretzky Olympic Hockey jersey and a chalet getaway in Tatamagouche.

Over nine years, Guatemala Outreach Project volunteers purchased and built 1,325 stoves for families, at a cost of $250 each.

Last year, the group built 200 in one visit, but they want to up the ante.

“This year they are going for 300 stoves,” said Payn.

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