KINdness to share

Members of the Prince Albert Kinsmen Club serve a stew and bannock supper at the friendship centre Friday. (Peter Lozinski/Daily Herald)

The Prince Albert Kinsmen Club knows the power of a little act of kindness.

Each year Kinsmen Clubs from across the country participate in the National Day of KINdness, an opportunity to give back to celebrate the founding of the organization.

This year’s celebration is special as it marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Kinsmen.

“Every community has a need for kindness and people performing selfless acts, and our clubs are able to spearhead this in their communities each year,” the Kin Canada website says.

“In 2020 we are excited to celebrate our 100th anniversary by spreading KINdness in our local communities.”

A total of 246 clubs are participating this year, including Prince Albert’s Kinsmen and Kinette Clubs.

“Little gestures always have more of an impact than big gestures for me,” said Prince Albert Kinsmen Club president Jon Fraser.

“With little gestures, you’re impacting people face-to-face. It means you’re engaged, meeting people. With little gestures we are touching everyone … touching their hearts.”

Friday evening, the Kinsmen gathered at the Prince Albert Indian Métis Friendship Centre to serve a meal of stew and bannock to the centre’s patrons.

 They estimated they would serve anywhere between 150 and 200 people in need. In addition to the meal, each attendee got a pair of socks and an orange.

“It means a lot, an awful lot,” said Janet Carriere, the executive director of the friendship centre.

‘We’ve never had a non-Indigenous group come in and feed people before. This is amazing and I’m hoping that it will encourage other groups to come in and feed homeless people. It’s helping us cross bridges between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities. This is huge for our community.”

Carriere said the friendship centre hosts meals when they can. School groups, First Nations University and the Prince Albert Grand Council come in a few times a year to help provide the meals.

She said meals are provided whenever possible.

“We don’t have the money to feed people, we have the space and the man-ower,” she said.

“Any opportunities to feed people we are always willing to provide a space and manpower.”

Fraser said he was “honoured” to be a part of the first non-Indigenous group to feed the needy at the Friendship Centre. He explained that the Kinsmen selected the organization to honour Carriere, who was named the 2019 Kinsmen Club and Prince Albert Daily Herald Citizen of the Year.

The Kinsmen will continue their Day of KINdness initiative tomorrow at the Victoria Hospital. There, they will be plugging parking metres, serving cake and providing meals for staff and patients. All told, the group’s efforts amount to giving back about $7,000 to the community.

While the friendship centre was a first for the group, the hospital has received the Kinsmen’s kindness before.

“Our first National Day of KINdness was a couple of years ago,” Fraser said. “We did it for the hospital — we decided that we would pay for parking and give out donuts.”

That came about after a few members of their club were experiencing hospital stays.

“It was something we got a lot of joy out of doing and its something that we felt we touched a lot of people’s hearts.”

The Kinsmen also touched the hearts of Friendship Centre patrons. Carriere thinks feeding the homeless is a “great” demonstration of kindness.

‘The clientele we serve are shunned by most of our community,” she said.

“For (the Kinsmen) to reach out and show kindness to them is big.”