NELSON – About 200 people filled a festive banquet hall on Selkirk College’s Tenth Street Campus for a meal featuring protein, something that can be challenging to incorporate into a menu when one is on a limited budget.
Protein for People was a collaborative event that included Selkirk College Resort & Hotel Management Program students hosting families and individuals from around the West Kootenay identified as having food security challenges. Professional Cook Program students prepared a meal of salmon, chicken, squash and salads and demonstrated how to prepare two meals using canned salmon as a protein.
“As we teach our students how to host guests and prepare delicious fare, it’s important to understand that healthy food remains out of reach for many people struggling with poverty. We also want our students to learn the significance of giving back to community,” says Selkirk College Hospitality & Tourism Instructor Harry Pringle.
Students from Selkirk College’s School of Hospitality and Tourism hosted about 200 people to Tenth Street Campus for a food forum aiming to help people struggling with poverty get protein into their meals.
The event was held just one day after the United Nations International Eradication of Poverty Day, October 17.
Protein for People Project was started in 2006 as an initiative by BC’s labour unions to help support families in need. Protein for People worked with local food banks and the community to connect families and individuals impacted by job loss, low wages and limited incomes with resources they may need to lift them out of poverty.
“The many people who live in poverty are not always as obvious to us as you may think. There are many families struggling to feed themselves and they may be our own neighbours,” says Debbie Bird, West Kootenay Labour Council president.
The West Kootenay Labour Council provided the salmon, rented the Trail Smoke Eaters bus to transport residents from Trail and Castlegar and coordinated additional community support for the event. Nelson at its Best, The Salvation Army, Hall Printing, Save On Foods and Safeway also contributed and the students of Monica Markin at Trafalgar Middle School made origami boxes to add to beautiful table décor. Selkirk College Music & Technology Program students as well as Dennis Leugner provided entertainment.
Every little detail was important as students created a festive atmosphere for guests, some travelling from Trail and Castlegar.
Community resources available at the event included Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy, Nelson At Its Best, Circle of Indigenous Nations, The Women's Centre, Canadian Union Of Postal Workers, West Kootenay Labour Council and Selkirk College Student Union. Nelson City Councilors Anna Purcell, Janice Morrison and acting Mayor Bob Adams also attended.
Pringle says the welcome offered at this community food forum was well received and students felt successful in their efforts.
“Everyone returned home with warm hearts and full bellies,” he says. Adds Bird, “All the guests were overwhelmed by the excellent meal, music, atmosphere and being treated so wonderfully by the Selkirk College students.”