This Holiday season, Think Turkey is putting the spotlight on unsung holiday heroes with the Wishbone Awards.
Earlier this month, Canadians nominated their holiday hero or shared how they’re helping fighting food insecurity during the holidays, whether it’s donating turkeys, cooking in a community kitchen, or volunteering at a local food bank.
Explore the stories of the eight Canadians, who have been honoured with a 2023 Wishbone Award and who will receive a $2,500 grant to go towards their community efforts around the Holidays.
When Canadians pull together, we can make holiday wishes come true!
In addition to the $20,000 in Wishbone Grants awarded to recipients, Think Turkey will be donating $10,000 to Food Banks Canada.
The Wishbone Awards are part of The Wishbone Project, a program launched in 2020 by Canada’s turkey farmers and processors to give back to communities and help those in need at the local, provincial and national levels through foods and funds. Since its launch, The Wishbone Project has raised $240,000, empowering local non-profits, charities and community heroes to fight food insecurity.
Since 2016, Mike and Deanna Diab have donated thousands of turkeys to those in the Windsor-Essex community as part of their Talking Over Turkey initiative.
Their hope is that this act of kindness will help bring families together and support those less fortunate during the holiday season. In 2022, they donated over 750 turkey food boxes to those in the community. This year, they will be delivering turkeys to the St. Vincent de Paul Society in Leamington, ON.
Having donated their time, money, delivery trucks, and many turkeys, Mike and Deanna work hard to ensure their community doesn’t go hungry during the holidays.
Peggy Terry & Courtney Barbier
St. John’s, NL
Courtney and Peggy are organizers of Neighbours in Need Newfoundland & Labrador. This group began as a way to help bring the community together during a large blizzard, but has evolved to a Facebook group of over 20,000 Newfoundlanders who support each other with needed items like groceries and clothing.
During the holiday season, they organize their Christmas Miracles initiative to ensure everyone has food and gifts to make the most of holidays, delivering these supplies to make everyone feel supported during the festive season.
Raymond is the president of the Fondation d’Entraide de Brossard, an organization which focuses on helping provide food and supplies to those in need.
During the week, he supplies students with breakfasts, and on the weekend, he visits local grocery stores to pick up unsold and donated foods, limiting waste and creating baskets for the needy in the community.
This holiday, Raymond and his team will help put together over 250 holiday boxes, each containing a turkey and bringing more joy to the table.
Melissa works for Food for Life, a Burlington-based food rescue organization. She has been a tireless crusader for food security in the Burlington/Oakville communities and spearheads the annual holiday frozen turkey drive at local Fortinos stores, ensuring that locals in need get the holiday dinner they deserve.
Due to her efforts, the program has expanded to all Fortinos locations and has been successfully running for the past 6 years, with turkeys being sent out to families for their holiday dinner in the Greater Toronto, Hamilton and Brampton communities.
David & Jean Anderson
David and Jean host a free holiday turkey dinner for anyone who would like to join at the Minto Community Centre.
Thanks to their efforts, hundreds gather every year for a traditional turkey dinner with all the fixings on Christmas day.
They will feed over 300 people, and deliver meals to those who cannot attend, gifting them a brighter holiday season.
Barb & Ashley
Barb and Ashley are founders of the BigDoor, once an old garage now renovated into a welcoming place for those in need.
Once a week, they host over 40 people for a warm meal and good company. Along with their weekly meals, they host a turkey dinner during Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Barb and Ashley work tirelessly to make sure everyone feels special, welcome and deserving of a hearty holiday dinner, bringing joy to their community.
For the past sixteen years, Sharmane and her team have helped prepare and host a fulsome turkey dinner for over 150 people in the community, ensuring everyone enjoys the holidays with music, good company, and a full heart and belly.
Creston’s 2023 Citizen of the Year, Demetre Karountzos has been hosting No One Eats Alone Christmas Dinner, serving hundreds of people and ensuring everyone can enjoy a turkey dinner and good company on Christmas day, all the while keeping the holiday spirit alive in the Creston community.