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Adult Learner’s Canadian Heritage Writing Contest: Winning Entries

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--August 7, 2013.

A Big thank you to all who participated and congratulations to our three winners: Bruce Walsh, Linda Martin and Helen Jasmine!!

The Learning Exchange, in partnership with the Quebec Anglophone Heritage Network, held an Adult Learner’s Canadian Heritage writing contest in 2013.

Adult writers 16+, currently attending an adult education or literacy program from across Quebec, were invited to submit their original stories and/or poems about a notable person, special object, event or tradition related to Canadian heritage to the Adult Learner’s Canadian Heritage Writing Contest. Three winners received a $100 cash prize.

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THE CHURCH WITH A HEART
by Linda Martin, Yamaska Literacy Council

Trinity Anglican Church is in Cowansville, Quebec. We know it as the church with a heart. We are a small congregation, but we are big when it comes to community.

I moved to Cowansville in 2007 and began going to Trinity Anglican Church for Sunday service. My educator encouraged me to join some sort of social activity. She suggested that I help in the food bank. That’s where I met Fran, Reg, Jane, and Stewart.

larger_church-pic_0.pngThe third Wednesday of the month is food bank day. We are about ten volunteers. The staff arrives at 9 AM to set up the hall and prepare the food items. Stewart fills the containers with margarine and I put on the lids. When we’re finished, I put the second-hand clothing out on the tables. Then the chairs are set up. Before you know it, it’s lunchtime. The volunteers enjoy a bowl of soup and bread. We take turns at bringing dessert and coffee.

The church doors open at 1 PM. The clients present their ID’s and I help fill the basket with food items. My job is to get the margarine, bread, and eggs from the storeroom. If the client needs other food items, like oatmeal or coffee, I go to the storeroom and get what they need. And soon the food basket is filled! While the clients are waiting to be served, they check out the table with clothing and take what they need; same with the books and toys.

Time passes quickly and at 3 PM we have to close the doors. On average, we serve fifty clients in an afternoon. The food bank is open ten months a year; it is closed in July and August. We tend to be more busy during the holiday season – Christmas and Easter.

The Helping Hands Food Bank gets some monetary donations. Once a year Heroes Elementary School does a food drive for us. The local Women’s Institute and Dunham Anglican Church each give us a yearly money donation. Clothing, books, and toys are donated by the people of Cowansville. Even I do some budgeting and once a month I buy some canned goods and donate them to the food bank.

It seems like yesterday that we celebrated Helping Hands’ fortieth anniversary. A couple, who lived in Montreal, fell on some hard times and had to use a food bank. They were thankful to the volunteers of that Montreal food bank. When they moved to Cowansville and saw the needy people, they started a food bank at Trinity Anglican Church. Helping Hands has been part of the community for 45 years.

In a better world, we wouldn’t need a food bank; everyone would have enough to eat. But people still need people. Instead of a food bank, I’d have a co-op. It would be a place to exchange things: books, movies, ideas… It would be a place to meet each other, have a cup of coffee and play a game of checkers. There would be a famers’ market where we could buy fresh fruit and vegetables, eggs and muffins. There would be an exchange of services: kids could mow the lawn or do some gardening in exchange for college money. Girls could babysit or walk dogs. People could visit shut-ins. Other people could offer to carpool. Young people could learn different crafts from older people. Through the co-op we would still be the church with a heart!

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A DAY IN THE SUGAR BUSH
by Bruce Walsh, Western Quebec Literacy Council

My farm is in Clarendon Township near Shawville, Quebec. In our maple bush we have nearly 300 trees. Every year my father and I tap the trees to make maple syrup. My sister helps us to gather the sap. Sometimes my niece and nephews help.

larger_maple-buckets.pngWe tap the trees at the end of March. The temperature needs to be below freezing during the night and warm during the day. We need some snow for the sap to run. The snow makes it colder at night. To make the holes in the trees we use a battery powered drill. You have to put taps into the holes. We hang cans on the taps for the sap to run into.

We collect the sap with the tractor and the trailer. On the trailer the sap goes into a 200 gallon holding tank. The sap goes in the evaporator pan from the holding tank. We use firewood to boil the sap down into maple syrup.

The colour of maple syrup can be light or dark. We use a filter to strain the hot maple syrup. We store and sell the maple syrup in cans. We eat pancakes with maple syrup. I like to eat maple spread. I like making maple maple syrup. It is hard work but it is fun.

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CANADA
by Helene Jasmin, Sir Wilfrid Laurier School Board

Canada
Canada is the land of the free.
With its beautiful wonders of the world.
Where hospitality is full with cheer.
Everything grows with passion and peace,
Still colours of the world.
Seeing the rebirth of spring come.
The exceptional beauty surrounding everything
With its towering mountains of the views above the other clouds.
The landscapes full of tides with waterfalls,
Creating a picture perfect place to visit.
It’s a place that we all call home!
It’s Canada our homeland!

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