St. Thomas NDG Youth Group Raises Funds for Pikangikum
By Xavier MacLaren and Jody Mason
FAST (“Free as the Spirit Takes Us”) is a youth group (youth aged 4-16) at St. Thomas NDG. It’s led by the indomitable Lee-Ann Matthews, and the group is always up to something interesting. This fall, FAST hosted two events in support of the Pikangikum Water Project, an initiative that is working to build water and waste-water facilities in the community of Pikangikum, a remote, Indigenous community in northern Ontario. Currently, ninety percent of the 450 homes in this community lack water and waste-water services. The FAST group learned about this project and was convinced of its importance. The children were particularly surprised to learn that children just like them and also living in Canada do not have access to safe drinking water or to hot running water.
The FAST kids decided to host a bake sale in October to kick off their fundraising effort. They raised almost $300 at their first event, which encouraged them to plan a second. On November 20th, FAST hosted one of its famous community soup lunches. The FAST kids have been hosting these lunches twice annually for three years; each lunch raises funds for a different cause. In the past, FAST has raised money for a refugee sponsorship committee operating in NDG (the Tri-Parish + Friends of Refugees Committee), and for various programs associated with the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund (hot lunches for schoolchildren in Haiti, for example). FAST soup lunches are unique because the children, with the help of their parents, prepare many varieties of delicious, homemade soup, and they also look after setting the tables, writing the menus, collecting donations, serving, and cleaning up.
The FAST lunches are particularly famous for their goat and callaloo soup, a specialty of the West Indies. This November, the kids served seven varieties of soup, including goat and callaloo, butternut squash, sausage-vegetable, and winter soup (a chicken soup with vegetables). For a freewill offering at the door, guests also received baguette, tea, coffee, cheese, fruit, and cookies.
The November 20th lunch brought out more than sixty hungry guests, and the FAST kids raised another $300 for Pikangikum.
To find out more about FAST or to learn about their future events, visit:
To learn more about the Pikangikum Water Project, visit: