THUNDER BAY, Ontario — December 15, 2018 (LSN) An important part of Leadership Thunder Bay's curriculum is to have participants to achieve a greater understanding of the City of Thunder Bay, its opportunities and its challenges as well as about those who face some of those challenges. Participants learn about such crucial issues as poverty, homelessness and mental illness, among other topics, and in doing so, often gain a greater empathy for and desire to help the people who deal with these issues.
A few years ago, this is what drove then-President Kelly Fettes and Vice President Matthew Villella, both graduates of the program, to launch the Leadership Thunder Bay Turkey Drive with the goal of providing families in need with enough groceries to prepare a festive Christmas dinner.
In its fourth year, the drive has raised approx. $8,000.00 to go towards turkeys, stuffing, and all the fixings for a traditional Christmas dinner. This year's drive was the most successful yet, netting enough to make Christmas a bit merrier for 85 Thunder Bay families. The drive has been supported for the past three years by Shawn's No Frills on Dawson Road who provides the groceries at cost. It was also sponsored this year by TBT Engineering with a contribution of $600.00 and by OPSEU 707 with a cheque for $300.00.
The Leadership Thunder Bay Board of Directors stuff their vehicles with the groceries and deliver them to the Regional Food Distribution Association.
"It's a cause, that aligns with Leadership Thunder Bay's mission by developing, strengthening and connecting leaders to and within our community needs," said Mathew Villella, Past President of Leadership Thunder Bay.
"The turkey drive has become one of the staple activities of the Leadership Thunder Bay yearly calendar as we all believe that a strong community is a caring community. The event has clearly resonated with our alumni, current class and supporters of Leadership Thunder Bay as we continue to reach higher and higher targets", he said.
Newly-elected President Kristina Baraskewich noted that plans are already underway for next year's drive. "As a result of the donations made through our annual Turkey Drive, we are able to provide a traditional holiday dinner and create an environment of safety and community for families this holiday season and we intend to continue this tradition next year with a new goal of providing meals for over 100 families," she adds.