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Picnic in the Park is a chance for one family to give back

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Last Saturday the annual Picnic In The Park was hosted by a number of family members of Gale Ballantyne whose brother, a street person in The Pas who passed away four years ago.
Every year Ballantyne hosts an event at Devon Park, serving food to The Pas’ homeless population in her brother’s memory.
“Four years ago we lost my brother and he was the only one in my family that ever went to residential school. He became a street person, he became displaced, he loved his street family and when he passed away whenever we come to The Pas his friends would come up to us and they’d be openly crying, just missing him and telling how he’s such a nice person,” said Ballantyne. “So we started this the year he passed away, I said to my family let’s do something for him to keep his memory alive and to make sure they don’t lose that kindness and sharing that he had in his heart. He’d give his last dollar to his friends, that’s how kind he was.”
She brought her family along with her in keeping her brothers memory alive along with a few others.
“I wanted my family to come every year and spend time with his friends and feed them. That’s what we do, we come here every year and we come and have this picnic and we called it Picnic In The Park. We make it possible from family donations, my family does all the work along with Joe Partridge, Mariah Moore, Mariel Young and they’ve been helping us every year and there’s a guy from OCN Rec that does all the cooking; he volunteers his time to come out,” she said, also mentioning Mike Junior and Senior Jebb who help out with the sound and music.
Being kind was something she and her brother inherited from their father who would always help the homeless whenever they were in The Pas.
“Growing up we would always come to Opaskwayak Indian Days and Trappers’ Festival because my mom’s family is mostly from here. We would come here all the time and my dad would take all the time to go and feed the homeless people, that’s where we got it from to show kindness to our fellow human beings and to show that somebody cares,” Ballantyne added.
Later on they released balloons in memory of people that they have lost; next year will be its fifth year and they hope to do something special for the occasion.
Every year they host the event on the second Saturday of August. Ballantyne added that everyone is welcome to join.

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Trevor Wright
REPORTER
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