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Souls Harbour Rescue Mission serves Thanksgiving dinner to hundreds in Halifax

Dorcas MacKenzie, left, and Tanya Colbo prepare plates loaded with vegetables, turkey and all the trimmings at Souls Harbour Rescue Mission in Halifax on Friday.
Dorcas MacKenzie, left, and Tanya Colbo prepare plates loaded with vegetables, turkey and all the trimmings at Souls Harbour Rescue Mission in Halifax on Friday. - Nicole Munro

Hundreds of people stopped in for plates full of turkey and all the trimmings at Souls Harbour Rescue Mission in Halifax Friday.

Volunteers with the rescue mission prepared 25 turkeys, 45 kilograms of potatoes, 20 kilograms of carrots, cranberries, brownies, tea and coffee to serve 250 plates at the Cunard Street location. 

The annual event typically serves 300-400 people, but had to be downsized because of space limitations. 

“Normally we have two floors that we would serve on, but we’re currently under renovations upstairs because we’re putting in a shelter so that we can actually house people going forward, so that’s limited our space a little,” Cherry Laxton, COO of Souls Harbour, said at the dinner. 

The shelter will be able to house 10 people and is to serve as an addiction and recovery centre, Laxton said. 

“Everyone’s needs are different so some people may need a three-month stay to run through a program, while other people may need an entire year,” she said. “It’ll definitely be based on the needs of the individual.” 

Souls Harbour hopes to have the shelter open before the first snowfall this year. 

But even with limited space, Souls Harbour adapted its meal plan to serve as many people as possible. People were able to stop by from 1-3 p.m., where the meal was served in two sittings, or were given the option to take their meals to go. 

“We find it important to give them the opportunity to come here and share the special occasions that maybe they wouldn’t have a chance to participate in otherwise,” Laxton said.
“A lot of them don’t have family and we’ve definitely become family to a lot of our regulars.” 

Laxton said the Thanksgiving dinners were made possible because of dedicated donors and members of the community pitching in. 

“A donation of $3.11 provides a meal for someone and when we put on events like this, we do put out a Thanksgiving appeal, and the response from the community is always phenomenal.” 

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