‘An angel in this community’: Sooke restaurant owner gives away hundreds of turkey dinners

'An angel in this community': Sooke restaurant owner gives away hundreds of turkey dinners
WatchThis time of year has long been known as the season of giving, and this year, when the need is so great, a Sooke restaurant owner has taken the message to heart. Despite facing her own battles as a small business owner fighting through a pandemic, she's making sure everyone in her community eats this holiday season. Ben Nesbit reports

A Sooke restaurant owner has pushed through the obstacles brought on by COVID-19 and continued a tradition of providing hundreds with a free turkey dinner.

Cathy Gouk, the owner of Cathy’s Corner Cafe in Sooke, began her turkey dinner giveaway 10 years ago as a way of saying thanks to those who help keep her doors open.

But over the years, the event has since developed a more significant meaning.

“We first started it as a customer appreciation and then we noticed that we were ending up with a lot of homeless people and other people just coming in and wanting turkey dinner so then we decided let’s just give back to our community,” said Gouk.

For the past two days, Gouk and her daughter Janice cooked up over 30 turkeys and served over 400 meals.

Traditionally, it’s a dine-in event, but because of COVID-19 they were forced to switch to take out, but the show went on, and those on the receiving end are grateful for not only the meal but the women behind it.

“I think it’s incredible, but that’s who Cathy is, she’s an angel in this community,” said one of the restaurant’s regular customers.

As a small business owner in an industry that’s been hit hard throughout the course of the pandemic, one might have thought Gouk would have had taken a year off from handing out free meals.

However, she saw it differently.

“There’s so many people struggling right now, I count my blessings cause I’ve got a good stream of regular customers that keep me going, but a lot of them aren’t going to have that throughout the year, and there will probably be a lot of people out of work in the new year,” said Gouk.

But for whatever happens, members can count on Gouk to lend a helping hand.

“This whole community, it’s like a giant family, all the people from the dentist’s office to the newspaper people, pharmacies, everybody, we feed everybody,” she said. “Just to make everyone happy and help them have a good day.”

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