Riel Day at Agape Table

Riel Day at Agape Table

It began, as most good things do, with coffee and conversation.

Four years ago, when I was volunteering at Agape Table, I sat down to have coffee and a conversation with one of the guests, who I’ll call John. John began the conversation by asking me what I thought of the new holiday, Louis Riel Day.

John is Aboriginal, so I assumed he was asking me what I thought of naming a day in Louis Riel’s honour and so I answered truthfully that if we were going to have a new holiday, then it was fitting to honour a man like Riel.

Well, John said, “I hate it. In fact I hate all holidays.”

I was completely taken aback and asked John, “Why?”

“Holidays are no help to the homeless,” he said. “Everything is closed. The libraries are closed, the stores are closed, and there is nowhere to go to keep warm. And it was really cold on Monday.”

In that one conversation John completely changed my thinking about Riel Day. It hadn’t occurred to me that the holiday had further complicated the already complicated lives of homeless people like John.

In 2013, Louis Riel Day is Monday, February 18th, and House Blend will once again be partnering with that local soup kitchen to provide a safe, warm space where people can go to enjoy the day. We’ll have food, games, live music and, of course, lots of coffee on hand throughout the day. st benedict’s table has sent a team of volunteers and a group of musicians to be a part of this event every year since it began.  You can help by volunteering to be part of the team, praying for the event, donating socks or warm winter gear or by making a donation to help cover the costs of the food for the day.

It’s a great cause but it’s also a lot of fun, so I hope you’ll seriously consider getting involved. You can contact me to sign up or for more information – rachel@houseblendministries.com, 791-4956.

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