Photo C/O @markandkait

Thanksgiving pulls people back home. Set at the beginning of Reading Week, it will see many students travelling both near and far to spend time with their families and old friends. It causes most of us to pause, even for a moment, and reflect on who, what and where we’re grateful for.

However, Thanksgiving is not always festive and fun. Founder of Every Golden Moment Carina Noyes knows that the holidays can be hard. That is why she created Friendsgiving Dinner, a community Thanksgiving meal.

Friendsgiving Dinner takes place on Oct. 7 at vegan and gluten-free restaurant, Planted in Hamilton. Featuring a plant-based diet, it is the first in a series of holiday gatherings hosted by Every Golden Moment, the business that Noyes launched earlier this year that curates bohemian style picnics.  

“Friendsgiving was created initially because I had my parents separate last year. [I]t just inspired me to think…with our little groups of friends, you have your little celebrations…But what can I create that can bring more people together in the community?” explained Noyes.

The result of this thinking is Friendsgiving. Open to all ages, Noyes wants to bring people from all different backgrounds to experience the magic of new connections. She loves the idea of strangers becoming family by eating together and sharing what they are grateful for.

Gratitude is important to Noyes. In the past year she’s seen drastic shifts in her life, replacing partying and drinking with more depth and thankfulness. It’s this journey that inspired her to create Every Golden Moment.

“I’ve seen my journey and…I want to create a platform [for] people that have that moment [of] life is more than what this is right now… I wanted to create Every Golden Moment to… connect … people that are on a similar journey…[T]hat’s what I come down to: community and connection,” she explained.

[spacer height=”20px”]She has seen what gatherings like these can do. They have restored hope after failed relationships and joined strangers together in friendship. Whereas media and many we may know focus on one type of family, events like these remind us that the word also describes bonds that aren’t blood.

Thanksgiving is often tied to tradition. The idea of stepping outside of one’s comfort zone on this holiday might not seem appealing. However, Noyes notes that there are so many people in this city that we can learn from and form genuine connections with.

It is a genuine connection that partnered her with Planted in Hamilton. Vegan and gluten-free herself, Noyes always features plant-based food in her gatherings. She chose Planted because the staff always value her as a person and appreciate her business. Their support of her vision and their commitment to creating community made them a perfect fit. [spacer height=”20px”]

[spacer height=”20px”]Noyes aims to partner with new establishments during each upcoming holiday gathering. It is important to her to support Hamilton businesses.

“[T]here’s so many vegan restaurants… popping up… I want to cycle the business back to these Hamilton businesses. I don’t want to take away their business. I want to put a new spin on it and make it like these cool events and have people come out,” said Noyes.

In getting people to come out to these holiday gatherings, Noyes is starting a new tradition in Hamilton. She hopes that attendees walk away feeling closer to the city and the people in it, giving everyone another reason to be thankful.

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