Gordon Kent has found more than food and fellowship at Siloam Mission -- he found he has an artistic bent that gives him considerable creative fulfilment.
Kent, one of more than 300 people who lined up to attend Siloam Mission's Christmas meal Monday afternoon in downtown Winnipeg, said he discovered his love for painting a few years ago at Siloam, a non-profit organization that offers programs to help the city's less fortunate.
"I'm an artist, I sketch aboriginal art," he said.
Kent grew up in Winnipeg's North End and worked in construction until he went on disability 10 years ago. Now, he occupies his time at Siloam. "It's a struggle for me. I'm glad Siloam is here," he said. "The food is good, and the people are friendly."
Over the years, Kent has made several friends at Siloam. One of them encouraged Kent to paint. His friend passed away last year.
"I never did find out his name, but we had meals together every day," said Kent.
"I didn't realize how much you could care about a human being until I came here. I liked to show him my paintings."
The smell of turkey dinner filled the air at the mission, which was decked out for Christmas.
More than 80 volunteers welcomed people at the door, prepared meals and served beverages to Winnipeggers who couldn't afford a Christmas meal.
Arlene Anton spent her morning in the kitchen -- her first year volunteering.
"We've been working all morning chopping veggies," she said. "It's a privilege to be here, to serve."
Hannah Taylor, founder of the Ladybug Foundation, came to volunteer with her family. Hannah spent her afternoon pouring juice and meeting guests.
"The guests are neat to talk to and Siloam Mission is very close to my heart," she said.