Cheyenne Astle managed to collect enough food to make Thanksgiving dinner a reality for ten local families in need. Her proud boyfriend Matt Ferguson helped deliver them across the Ottawa Valley.(Photo by Patricia Leboeuf, Petawawa Post)

Local resident’s generosity feeds families in need

By Patricia Leboeuf, Petawawa Post

Posted on Thursday November 8, 2018

Thanksgiving may not be on the generosity radar as much as some of the other holidays, but Cheyenne Astle wanted to change that.

She originally purchased a full turkey dinner to give to a family in need, hoping to help out the community in her own small way. Yet more names started pouring in.

“I originally just wanted to help the one family but when so many people asked, I really didn’t know who to help,” said Astle. “So I had to help everybody.”

She turned to friends, family, and her own pocketbook and purchased a total of 10 turkey dinners, which she and boyfriend Master Corporal (MCpl) Matthew Ferguson then distributed throughout the Ottawa Valley.

It is more than just the chance to help others. Brightening up people’s day at any time is something she enjoys.

“At work right now, we are learning about kid’s sparks, what makes them happy,” said Astle. “My spark is helping people.

“The smile on their faces and them thanking us is rewarding,” said Astle.

She does hope to do the same next Thanksgiving and has already garnered support from potential donors.

Her desire to assist the community doesn’t end with a Thanksgiving meal.

She has a long history of contributing, and has recently put on a series of fundraisers to benefit the Petawawa Military Family Resource Centre (PMFRC) and the Chaplains’ Christmas Hamper Fund. Wanting to raise money for these two organizations, in particular, comes from her experience as a military child and knowing many soldiers who have struggled.

She hosted the Run to R.E.D. (Remember Everyone Deployed), the Ride to R.E.D., paint nights and a tattoo fundraising event, in the hopes of collecting at least $5,000.

But really, she knows it is every day generosity that does the most to cheer people up.

“Little gestures of kindness go a long way,” said Astle. “It’s paying for coffee for the person behind you at Tim Hortons or providing dinners to families.”

Helping people is something that she makes sure to fit in her calendar, despite being very busy.

She goes to college full time to become a Development Service Worker and works as an educational assistant, and is raising Gracelyn Astle and Myles Ferguson. It is important to her that she sets a good example for the children. She wants them to grow up as productive members of society who see the importance of giving back.

MCpl Ferguson is incredibly proud of his girlfriend, despite being puzzled at first as to why she would go out of her way to help others.

She quickly turned him to her way of thinking.

“I can see why now because you see how much someone is happy and appreciative,” he said. “It makes it worthwhile because she gets happ, too. If she is happy, I am happy. I’m always bragging about her at work.”