GIVING BACK and how we feel we're the ones who were given a gift.
You're sure to know by now that Words Worth Books is donating 100% of the profit from the sale of Joseph Boyden's Wenjack to The Healing of the Seven Generations, Kitchener. Penguin Canada was wonderful in their support of this incentive, and through them this was rolled out to independent bookstores across the country so that each may donate to wherever there's most need in their community.
Locally this has been a rousing success, and on Tuesday Mandy and Kristen went to The Healing of the Seven Generations to deliver a cheque for a portion of what has been raised so far.
We were met by executive director Donna Dubie and about ten other people who were busy peeling carrots and potatoes while a tongue-in-cheek Aboriginal version of The Twelve Days of Christmas played in the background. Everyone was preparing for Wednesday's Christmas feast. They were expecting over 100 people to take part, "though usually it's just 60 or 70 who come to the regular weekly potluck. You should come! but you've gotta bring potluck. We prefer something home-made," she said with a laugh.
We sat down with Donna and she told us about the sorts of things The Healing of the Seven Generations work on. In addition to the community lunch they have a room full of warm winter clothing that is free to anyone who needs it. With their back-pack program children, teens, or even adults returning to school, are given pens, paper, binders, and a brand new pair of sneakers. Most importantly, however, is the social programming available through H7G. There are weekly healing circles for men and women, community outreach, parenting workshops, and court support; their motivation is always to empower and restore balance through traditional ceremonies, culturally appropriate counselling, and education. WISDOM, HEALING, VISION, COMMUNITY: is it with these four things that H7G seeks to redress the tragic legacy of Residential Schools.
We were thrilled to hand Donna a cheque for $1100.00-- that's maybe half of what we expect will be raised thanks to your enthusiastic support. Before we left we were told in no uncertain terms that they'd be looking for us at Wednesday's feast. We explained that we probably couldn't make it-- "Oh, but you could come out for half an hour. Sure you can," and she nodded like that was settled. As the enticing smell of food filled the kitchen and people joked back and forth, we were shown photographs and jewelry, leatherwork and wood-carving, and our plan for a ten-minute visit turned into an hour and a half in this warm company. We feel so lucky to have such wonderful new friends at H7G just as the Region of Waterloo is lucky to have their tireless and compassionate work in the community.