Together for the holidays

Wii Chiiwaakanak Learning Centre hosts a community holiday dinner

The Wii Chiiwaakanak Learning Centre is known for its star blanket mural.

Photo by Keeley Braunstein-Black

During the upcoming winter break, Wii Chiiwaakanak Learning Centre will come together with other organizations to host a community holiday dinner for program attendees and their families.

Angeline Nelson is the director of Wii Chiiwaakanak Learning Centre, and this will be the fourth time she is a part of organizing the event.

“Any event or program we have, I want it to be as good as it can possibly be,” she says. “I want it to be an event that I would want to attend. It’s something I’m proud to do.”

The event will have a full turkey dinner, donated and cooked by Les Marmitons, an organization of fine dining professionals and appreciators.

“They prepare all the food in the kitchen at Diversity Foods. (Diversity) also plays a role in raising money, organizing and co-ordinating with Les Marmitons,” Nelson says.

The event will feature a photo booth for families to take pictures with themed props.

“A lot of families don’t have family portraits, so it’s a fun little event to take part in and something for families to take home,” Nelson says.

According to Nelson, the holiday dinner will have tons of activities for children too, including different stations that feature large-scale games like Connect Four or Jenga, cookie decorating and clowns who will also do face painting and balloons.

“This year we had a donation of Nintendo Switches,” Nelson says. “We’re really excited to have that station this year. It’s always jam-packed with activities.”

Nelson says gifts are provided to all attendees aged 17 and under. At past dinners, Wii Chiiwaakanak provided gifts for children in the form of swag items from different organizations in the community, but Nelson says they wanted to give the children something they would enjoy more.

“We set up partnerships in the community and at the University (of Winnipeg) to start toy drives. People donated money as well, so that we could buy for certain age groups that we didn’t already have gifts for,” Nelson says. “We worked really hard to make sure that we were giving really good gifts.”

Organizations such as Spence Neighborhood Association and the University of Winnipeg Retirees Association (UWRA) participate in this year’s
toy drive.

Chris Leo, UWRA vice-president and program co-ordinator, noted that the annual holiday luncheon is the most popular event attended by its members who gladly bring a Santa Sack full of new, unwrapped toys for Wii Chiiwaakanak and a pantry full of non-perishable items for the UWSA Food Bank.

Nelson is extremely proud to be a part of the holiday dinner and is excited to see it come to life.

“I’m really thankful for all of the people that come on board to help us host this dinner for 200 people. That’s no small feat,” Nelson says. “So many people come together to support the community that we’re a part of. It’s so important to us to give families a good meal and a small gift and support them in whatever small way we can.”

The dinner will take place in the Riddell Atrium (1R10) on Wednesday, Dec. 12 at 4:30 p.m.

Published in Volume 73, Number 11 of The Uniter (November 22, 2018)

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