Winnipeg patio hosts first-ever “pay what you can” Thanksgiving dinner

A pop-up Winnipeg patio, best known as a popular watering hole and live music venue, hosted a Thanksgiving dinner on Saturday.

The Beer Can, a sprawling patio built on the grounds of the Granite Curling Club, welcomed community members into the space for their first-ever “pay what you can” Thanksgiving feast.

Proceeds from the dinner will be donated to Resource Assistance for Youth (RAY) and West Central Women’s Resource Centre, community organizations that address food insecurity and other issues in the area.

“We’re trying to help with that food insecurity part by welcoming in folks who may not normally have an opportunity to come to a restaurant or have a Thanksgiving dinner,” Brad Chute, The Beer Can’s co-owner, told CTV News.

Community members were parked at picnic tables throughout The Beer Can with heaping plates of traditional Thanksgiving fare.

“The wide range of folks you see are the members of our community, and they’re all welcome here,” Chute said. “I know the holidays are a lonely time for some, so to come out and gather with folks here is filling that need to some degree.”

Chute said when they started planning the Thanksgiving dinner he was a little nervous.

“You throw a party sometimes and nobody comes, but so far the volunteers and community have really stepped up and it’s been really humbling to see all the support,” Chute said.

He said neighbouring restaurants like The Tallest Poppy, Hudson Bagels and Stella’s Bakery donated dishes for the dinner, and over 75 volunteers have donated time and money to the event.

“It was actually just very rewarding to see how willing people were to step up and help out with this.”

Chute estimated they had enough food to feed 600 people and any leftover will be delivered to other local organizations.

“If we get to three or four hundred people, we’ll consider it a huge success.”