It Takes a Village

10th annual Village Feast in Souris raises funds for local and global charities

The Village Feast—if you’ve never heard of it or you’ve heard of it, but not yet made the trek to Souris to take part, make 2017 the year you change that. Trust me, from one foodie to another, you won’t regret it.
An incredible community initiative that is epic both in terms of its size and ambitious intentions, the Village Feast was born back in 2008. The idea was to bring the community together for a gourmet feast in celebration of their good fortunes, while raising money to provide the basic necessities for those who needed them.

“It has evolved into so much more. While at the heart of this fundraiser lies a delicious grilled gourmet meal that uses local foods, the true spirit of the Village Feast is a coming together of tight-knit community members, dedicated volunteers, and a genuine desire to help those in need,” Ilse Peters-Ching, one of the Feast organizers, said.

The Feast holds the claim to fame as PEI’s largest gourmet grilling event, hosting 1,000 guests each year at the Eastern Kings Sportsplex, rain or shine. And speaking of fame, its host happens to be rather famous himself. A resident of the community, celebrity chef Michael Smith returns each year as the headlining host. Smith and his star-studded team, including Chef Bill Pratt, the Village Feast founders, and over 150 local volunteers, ensure guests have a delicious meal and a grand time.

A happy guest, Jennifer MacPhail, enjoying the Souris Village Feast in 2011. //Photo Credit: Shannon Courtney

“After nine successful Village Feasts, over $230,000 has been raised for both local and global charities. We have donated to Farmers Helping Farmers, who have built 10 school cookhouses in Kenya and for the last four years we have funded gardeners to oversee the Kenyan school gardens to maximize food output,” Peters-Ching said.

The Feast also supports local charities. Over $90,000 has been donated to the Souris Food Bank and the Coats for Kids program has received over $11,000. The Lend A Hand Family Resource Centre also receives $2,000 a year to provide cooking classes, which focus on helping participants prepare cost-effective, nutritious meals.

The food, just like the hosts and volunteers, is locally-sourced. Guests have the choice between a AAA steak or lobster (or both!), served along with PEI potatoes, organic salad, and strawberries grown in Souris.

“The delicious meal keeps Feast goers coming back every year and we are very proud [of] it,” Peters-Ching said. And so they should be. As a Feast returnee, I can attest to the deliciousness factor as well as the overall experience, which is impressively well-organized thanks to the massive team of volunteers that go above and beyond every year.

About Shannon Courtney

Shannon is the co-founder of Salty and was its editor-in-chief for the publication's inaugural year. When she’s not writing about food, Shannon's either cooking, eating, talking, or thinking about it. Her food adventures have included milking a Jersey cow in Australia, almost overdosing on maple syrup in Prince Edward County, and studying local food systems in Vermont as part of her Master’s thesis research. Shannon is also a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and strongly believes you CAN make friends with salad.

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