Annual Christmas meal another big hit
- EFN Staff | December 22, 2015
The Saskatoon Tribal Council had their annual community Christmas party last week and welcomed 1000 community members at the White Buffalo Youth Lodge. Once you made it past the line that stretched around the building and through a packed lobby, you were greeted at the door by volunteers from the lodge and the fire department and then by Tribal Chief Felix Thomas and former CFL star and one Arrow Band member JR LaRose.
Volunteers including politicians, athletes and other role models lined two tables piled with Christmas fixins and once you were served the feast, you took the children downstairs to visit one of the two Santa’s that were brought in from the north to greet all the excited children and give them a gift.
The evening festivities took hundreds of hours and volunteers to pull off. “Throughout the day we have volunteers from STC, SIGA at least thirty working right now then will need more for tear down and clean up after that,” said White Buffalo Youth Lodge Executive director Heidi Gravelle who took a quick minute in the madness to talk about the event. “We start planning in August. The White Buffalo staff headed the committee this year. And it is STC and White Buffalo staff that work together. The committee then breaks the work into silos like decorating, presents and food. And slowly but surely it comes together.”
This year they planned for over 1000 people and that means a lot of food. Fifty one turkeys were prepped at White Buffalo then taken to Nutana Bakery and cooked. “We did 500 pounds of potatoes yesterday. All the prep and stuffing in our PotashCorp kitchen,” added Heidi.
The event is no small feat and comes with a $20,000 budget to pay for food and 800 gifts. Children under 11receive a gift and those aged 12 to 17 get a movie card. It is a difficult project but the staff at the White Buffalo Youth Lodge and the volunteers have no regrets. “The reaction is huge every year. And some of these kids that come, they get to see Santa but it is also their only Christmas dinner,” said Heidi. “It is tough, but it is so worth it. In the line to hear the reactions of people is phenomenal. It is really nice. They are just so grateful. That’s what makes it so easy to do this. As hard a work as it is.”