They’re loading up the ‘hippy bus’ today at the North Simcoe Youth Wellness Hub and hitting the road to deliver a Thanksgiving treat to area families.
Starting in Midland before fanning out to all points of North Simcoe, the organization plans to deliver more than 30 turkey dinners, complete with all the trimmings, to families in need.
“We’re pretty excited,” said Kelly McLaughlin, NSYWH youth, family and community engagement lead. “We’re supporting over 30 families and providing everything for the meal, from turkey right down to the pie and whipped cream.”
The meal kits have enough ingredients to feed a family of four, according to McLaughlin, who noted participating families live in Tiny and Tay Townships as well as Midland, Penetanguishene and Beausoleil First Nation with all homes including youth aged 12 to 25.
“We’re feeling really good about being able to reach out to our communities,” said McLaughlin, noting they thought that loading everything up into her own personal ‘hippy bus’ would be a fun way to make their deliveries.
Funding for the initiative comes from a provincial plan to provide each youth wellness hub with emergency funding.
“They provided each hub with some emergency funding, and allowed each of us to determine how we wanted to use that funding,” she said, noting the local operation allocated some funding towards technology to help those who don’t have phones or wifi.
There’s also a learning component with the food delivered raw and/or uncooked. Families will be able to watch online tutorials via Instagram (@nsywhub) or Facebook (@NorthSimcoeYouthWellnessHub) on how to best cook everything, even the mashed potatoes.
“We’ve kind of engaged some of our partners for the hub to do a tutorial video,” McLaughlin said. “And we’re kind of hoping that some of the people that are receiving the kits are young people. They may not know how to cook a turkey so they can tune in and learn because everything they’re being given, they basically still have to cook.”
McLaughlin said she hopes the process of cooking the food and then eating it together helps strengthen family bonds.
“We’re sort of imagining that it gives families an opportunity to cook together and to spend some family time together,” she said. “Our most important relationships are established and strengthened over meals.
“The benefits of this Thanksgiving dinner go far beyond the food itself by providing an opportunity for families to get together, create opportunities for meaningful conversation and enjoy a delicious meal.”
Various schools and community partners also helped out to identify North Simcoe families with youth aged 12-25 to share in this special event.
The youth wellness hub, which is located inside the new community health hub on Bayshore Drive, is designed to provide integrated services and a safe space for youth ages 12 to 25 in need of mental health and addiction services, crisis support, primary care and social supports for employment, housing and income.
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World news – CA – ‘Hippy bus’ bringing good vibes, Thanksgiving meal to area families