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The Spirit of Thanksgiving at Machray

Nicole Pearson and her kids were happy to dig in to this Thanksgiving feast at Machray School 
(The following is from the Canstar Times article by Sonia Braun) 
It’s the Thursday before Thanksgiving and there’s a gym full of families eagerly awaiting a feast.  
It’s Machray School’s 5th annual Thanksgiving Supper — an innovative meet-the-teacher event that builds community and celebrates school life through eating together.
Rows of brightly coloured tables featuring festive centrepieces, dinner rolls, and cranberry sauce set the stage for the grand entrance of a full turkey dinner and dessert which the kids and their parents have been anticipating all day. Nicole Pearson, mom of four, has been coming every year.  
"It’s nice.  I like it," she says.
Kevin Chief, MLA for Point Douglas, calls it "the best way to kick off Thanksgiving."
He notes the growth of the event over the three years he has participated, with attendance doubling.  He attributes the growth to the power of generosity and a sense of belonging.
Another reason for the event’s success is the tasty food people have come to expect.  It wasn’t part of the equation in the beginning. When Gordon Armstrong, principal of Machray School (a N-6 school with 450 students), first introduced the idea, they started with hot dogs and a carnival.
The next year, their first corporate sponsor joined in. After choosing to partner with the school by tree planting with Grade 5 and 6 classes, Qualico, a home-building and land-development company based in Winnipeg, fell in love with the school and became part of the community supper as well.  Synergy continued to grow.
The following year, Qualico helped bring the Fairmont Hotel on board. As a result, for the past three years, the hotel has prepared turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing and mixed vegetables in aluminum packets perfect for taking home afterwards.  Kevin Van, Qualico vice-president is excited to be involved. He was there — along with staff from his company and even his family — to serve dinner and clean up, freeing school staff to focus on the families.
One other partner, R.B. Russell Vocational School, commissioned its culinary students to create decadent brownies for dessert.  Following that sweet treat, there were draws for lunch bags and backpacks full of school supplies.
At the end of the night, smiling students and happy parents left the school building feeling full — not just full of food, but full of pride, dignity, and gratitude.
What valuable gifts are given when a community comes together in every way.

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