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Women and Girls: This Father’s Day, try taking Dad out to a unique picnic

The Tapestry Women’s Network is hosting its second ethnic food picnic on Sunday, June 19 in the backyard of Roots to Harvest.
THUNDER BAY -- The Tapestry Women’s Network was founded by Roopa Rakshit and Laura Fralick in 2018, to provide an opportunity in Thunder Bay for women from all over the world to meet and network.Rakshit, who is now a research administrator at Lakehead University and former board member of EcoSuperior, says that when she first arrived in Thunder Bay, there were few opportunities for her to network with other women from diverse backgrounds, and it took time and much effort to establish herself in the community. “But now I’m in a position where I can mentor, help, and support newcomers,” she says.

The Tapestry Women’s Network aims to promote networking, friendships and supporting each other across borders. Many of the women in the group are from Asia and the Middle East, and recently there has been an influx of women coming to Thunder Bay as refugees. The group organizes charitable events like the ethnic food picnic on June 19 to raise money for local initiatives such as Precious Bundles and Faye Peterson House.

The Tapestry Women’s Network is a group of “likeminded people,” explains Rakshit. “We want to make friendships beyond our own countries. We try to learn from each other, and also learn to be patient, and open our minds and hearts to world views and world cuisines.”For many, food is an easy way to make friends and to learn about other cultures, which is why the ethnic food picnic is a popular event. This year’s picnic will showcase 15 food vendors; all home chefs and home-based caterers, selling dishes from around the world such as BBQ chicken, Turkish kebab, empanadas, spring rolls, biryani and a wide variety of baked goods. There will also be henna, face painting, and nail painting.The event is organized by a group of dedicated volunteers, with support from Kim McGibbon of Roots to Harvest, where the event is taking place. Entry is $5 and food tickets will be available for purchase. The event will be plastic-free and visitors are encouraged to bring their own takeaway containers and utensils.Women of all ages have joined the Tapestry Women’s Network, says Rakshit. Some are recent arrivals to Thunder Bay who need guidance with their careers, or help with English, while others are long-time residents who volunteer to help those in need of support.Encouraging people to give back to the community is important to Rakshit. “As immigrants, we have made the choice to leave our country and adapt to a new country. The onus lies on us to make the effort to network, and volunteer. Volunteerism is not very common in many parts of the world. That’s another thing we learn; that’s what Canada teaches us - how we can contribute to the community.”
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