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Saugeen Ojibway Nation mothers reach out to off-reserve members

·2 min read

OWEN SOUND – Helping those affected by addictions is one of the ways that a group of concerned mothers and community members are giving back to their community.

A growing movement that began in Saugeen Ojibway Nation (SON) territory, called “I Love You, No Matter What,” with outreach to those community members struggling with addictions and suicide have broadened their reach to Owen Sound.

A new initiative to reach out to community members who live on the streets of Owen Sound called the “Tailgate Soup Kitchen,” began Nov. 13 with a successful trial run that fed over 20 people.

In a social media post, the group announced:

“For the upcoming winter months, No Matter What is extending itself into the city of Owen Sound.

“This is a response to our SON membership who are on the street struggling with addiction. We know that it is not only our members that struggle; there are many others of the Settler people who are also in dire straits. We will help them as well, as every child counts.

“Our response is a Tailgate Soup Kitchen that will operate every Saturday bringing hot food and beverages to the people.”

Within hours, offers to help and donations began pouring in, and everything came together quickly.

Local businesses quickly got on board, organizing donation drives to supply items like new backpacks filled with warm clothing, hats and mittens, and emergency blankets.

McKenzie’s Pharmacy in Wiarton put out a box for donations, which filled up quickly with sanitary products for women, hand sanitizer, and toiletry items.

On Nov. 20, the group held their second Tailgate Soup Kitchen serving hot chili and homemade chicken noodle soup with buttered buns and fresh fruit. Tim Hortons coffee, juice, and water were also available.

Members of the group made sure that each meal was individually wrapped and offered with the utmost safety to ensure their guests were protected from COVID-19.

‘No Matter What’ is a grassroots initiative in Neyaashiinigmiing to address impacts of addiction, including offering a safe space for harm reduction and support those impacted by a loved one’s substance use.

The organizers of Tailgate Soup Kitchen announced that they are changing days for delivery of hot meals from Saturdays to Sundays. The location will be at Tim Hortons downtown Owen Sound. They will be there from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Cory Bilyea, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Wingham Advance Times

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