Skip to content

Sarah Simpson Column: Holiday meals brighten the spirits of the unhoused, lonely, and of providers

Alana Power is no stranger to big jobs.

Alana Power is no stranger to big jobs.

On top of her day job with the Department of National Defence, the animal advocate runs a non-profit operation in Lake Cowichan called Su Casa Rescue, which had originally aimed to help dogs in high-kill shelters to find their forever homes but has become so much more, especially since so many local kittens needed rescue and re-homing in 2022.

But it’s not just about animals for Alana. It’s about people too.

Over Thanksgiving in 2022, Alana put out the call on Facebook that she was willing to feed any and all who were facing the holiday without a special meal.

The meal was a success with dinners delivered to folks in Mesachie Lake, Youbou, Honeymoon Bay, and Lake Cowichan.

“It went fantastic,” Power said. “There were quite a few folks, maybe 15, who reached out,” she added, noting some people advocated for others in need as well.

“It worked out really well. In Lake Cowichan, we’ve got a fairly large population of unhoused people but we’ve also got a lot of people who are alone and not only do I have a soft spot for senior dogs, I’ve got a soft spot for senior people, too, because we’re all going to get there (if we’re lucky) and it’s extremely important for people to know they’re not alone.”

As Christmas rolled around, Power was at it again, once more offering a special meal to those in need, alone, or otherwise wishing for one.

While Power spearheads the operation, she’s not alone. Tracey Michell donated a turkey this year for Christmas. She’s got help from individuals, both local and friends as far away as Ontario, and the town notary even donated at Thanksgiving as well.

“It’s pretty awesome that people in my small little village are willing to support me supporting others,” Power said.

A year-round Su Casa fundraiser selling cat grass helps fund the effort, too, she explained.

“All of the profits from that we give away,” Power said. “That’s what I choose to do with the money, whether it’s to buy gifts for people, or meals, or at Christmas to adopt a couple families, or go by angel tree gifts. People have treated me very, very well and so I just like to give back and I certainly don’t do it alone.”

With funds leftover after dinner was made, Power bought extra groceries or gifts and dropped them off as well.

“Not too terribly many, but things that people would like,” she explained. “It was really fantastic, really.”

The 31-year veteran of the Canadian Armed Forces does it simply because she’s able.

“It’s just something I’m doing because I can,” she said. “Whether it’s feeding five people or even if I need to get a bigger kitchen, I just try and make people happy.”

By all accounts the rest of us can learn a thing or two from Power.

“I just try and be a good human that’s all,” she said. “There’s too much yuk in the world right now and if we can just do something good and not think about it, then we should just go and do it.”

Sarah Simpson

About the Author: Sarah Simpson

I started my time with Black Press Media as an intern, before joining the Citizen in the summer of 2004.
Read more