It’s the Christmas miracle that nearly wasn’t Christmas anything.
Early in December Estevan‘s Warm Welcome Kitchen, which has been serving free meals to the community for three years now, announced it was lacking the funding to operate this month. The free meals, which are typically served on Tuesdays and Thursdays, typically feed 50 to 60 people.
“It was a terrible decision to have to make. It was not something we took lightly,” said Warm Welcome Kitchen board member Wendy Godfrey.
Adding to the problem was a shortage of volunteers and vehicle troubles that left the lead volunteer cook and grocery shopper stranded.
“With those three things piling up we didn’t know what to do,” Godfrey said.
The community of Estevan, though, wasn’t about to let December go down without a fight. Together, residents and local businesses raised thousands of dollars to breathe new life into the Warm Welcome Kitchen, putting them back in (free) business mere days after they first announced their struggles.
It all was sparked by the good deed of local resident Brooke Spagrud.
“I had no idea it would blow up as big as it has,” Spagrud said in referral to her snow shovelling campaign which she advertised on Facebook. With the help of local businesses matching donations, she was able to raise almost $4,000 by shovelling sidewalks and driveways.
“It’s gangbusters how big this has gotten, for Estevan,” she said.
Godfrey said the Warm Welcome Kitchen now has the funding to operate through December and beyond.
While the timing of the story makes for a perfect holiday feel-good story, both Spagrud and Godfrey agreed that the community of Estevan’s Christmas-like cheer can be felt at any time of the year.
“This is not an isolated case of people coming together to help out. any time something comes up our community jumps right in with both feet to help out,” said Godfrey.