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Posted: November 29, 2020

How one turkey can change a life

Help a Family in Cranbrook & Win Dinner at Soulfood

It sounds pretty crazy, doesn’t it? That a single turkey could change a life?

I would like to share a story with you. It is a story that was posted on Facebook on November 21, 2015. It is a story about how a turkey changed an entirely family’s life.

“Three years ago this Christmas I spent my first Christmas as a single mom of three. I had just gotten a divorce and cash wasn’t exactly flowing generously by any means. Christmas decor included fruit loop garland and a dollar store star. (Don’t let it fool you, that stuff is luxurious and beautiful and should be on every tree!).

“It was the first year I introduced my children to the ‘One present Christmas,’ which is now entering its fourth year by choice. Each kid receives one present from mom and one present from Santa. That is it and that is that. And then there is Christmas dinner.

“You don’t think much of it until it’s time. But by the time you think of it, you realize the money is gone. You spent what little you had on the kids. No regrets because that’s who Christmas is really for isn’t it? Funny how turkey doesn’t seem like a luxury until you realize it is.

It was the 22nd of December, 2012. There was a knock at the door. I answered it and no one was there. I ran over to the window, leaving the side door open, trying to see out the front window who had just been there. I saw taillights. I walked back over to the door. There was a box. A box wrapped around the outside with gift wrap. A box which, once I looked into it, had a turkey, a handful potatoes, a freezer bag of carrots, a can of corn, a can of cranberry jelly, a pack of gravy, four homemade buns, and a box of Stovetop.”

Okay, so clearly this story isn’t just about a turkey. It’s about the people who took the time to put this box together, and it’s about the people who took the time to think about me and my family. Yes, about me. I may have forgotten to mention that this is my story.

Eight years ago, my life looked very different. I was a single mom of three, who was really struggling to provide for my children; while dealing with the personal aftermath of a very unhealthy marriage. The only thing that got me through the daily challenges of life were small glimmers of hope that I was destined for something so much bigger than low income housing, food banks, and an insurmountable debt load.

Christmas is heavy as a single parent. It can have this awful way of reminding you just how much of failure you feel you are and how much better you want for your children.

But I also think that these challenging times are when you get the opportunity to learn about the power of Christmas Magic.

Receiving that Christmas dinner on my doorstep in 2012 was a little glimmer of hope. That Christmas dinner was a reminder that I wasn’t alone. It was a reminder about the amazing community that always rallies behind its people, and how I would always be part of that community. Life didn’t suddenly become easy, but I suddenly had a little added hope to get me through to the next stage of my life, and then the next, and then the next. Until finally, I stand here today in a position to now help others.

Today, I am sharing this story and asking you to donate a turkey to a family in need. It is no secret that 2020 has hit all of us hard. Now, more than ever, we need to rally as a community and support those who need it the most. Our vulnerable community members, who without these donations, may not get to feel that hope that I did in 2012. The feeling of love and belonging on one of the hardest or the most beautiful holidays of the year.

This year is extraordinarily special to me. For 10 years, the absolutely amazing Karin Penner has been the Mother Plucker, raising the most amount of money of all the pledgers (aka Little Pluckers) each and every year during the Cranbrook Chamber of Commerce’s Turkey Drive. This year she has retired. She has retired, and so graciously handed her list over to me.

It sort of all feels serendipitous to be honest, because there’s a really great chance that the turkey dinner I received in 2012 was purchased with the funds she raised that year. Funny how life can come full circle like that.

Now with that said, that’s a lot of bloody pressure here people! I barely have the time to do what I am doing, never mind call a list of 200 people and try to honour her efforts. But I am sure going to try!

So here I am to entice you because I don’t want a single family in Cranbrook to go without a turkey dinner!

Every $25 turkey donation will be entered to win dinner for two at Soulfood, valued at $100.

Every $50 turkey donation will be entered to win dinner for four, valued at $200.

Every $100 turkey donation will be entered to win dinner for six, valued at $300.
Donations over $100 will receive an entry to the dinner for six, for every $100.

Your donation will be provided to the Cranbrook Food Bank and Cranbrook Salvation Army, care of the Cranbrook Chamber. You will receive a charitable donation receipt for your donation, coordinated by the Chamber.

You can donate online. You can also bring a cheque to Soulfood. Please make cheques out to the Cranbrook Chamber. All donations will receive a charitable tax receipt mailed out before the New Year.

Danielle Eaton & the Soulfood Team

Lead image: Karin Penner, left, presents Danielle Eaton with her Turkey Drive contact list. Photo submitted

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