FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — August’s Co-op Community Champion is Jeanette Johnston, the owner of Aniela’s Kitchen, for continuing to support fundraisers and organizations in the community.

Aniela’s Kitchen has been known to help out anyone who approaches them the best way they can without asking for recognition. Whether it’s raising money for a fundraiser or providing food for an event, Johnston and Aniela’s Kitchen is always looking at how to give back to the community.

Fort St. John is very well known for community members giving back, and each person has their own reasoning for doing so, including Johnston.

Over 20 years ago, Johnston and her husband were living pay cheque to pay cheque, and at one point, their telephone was disconnected. Her friend, Michelle, found out through an automated message after trying to call the couple.

Afterwards, Michelle showed up at the Johnston’s residence and handed the couple a cheque.

“And she said, I don’t know what’s going on, but I have a cheque for you for $500. She said, I don’t want you to pay it back. I just want you to help out the next person that you can,” Johnston said.

From that moment forward, she and her husband haven’t stopped helping.

“We haven’t stopped. That’s basically it. I just know how she made me feel and how wonderful [it was]. There were no words.”

Johnston says the gesture from her friend was very badly needed at the time, noting that you never know what someone is going through.

“We have just continued on and we have tried to help out as many people as we can because we don’t know what’s going on on the inside.”

Originally from London, Ontario, Jeanette moved to Fort St. John in 1997 for her husband’s job. They opened Aniela’s Kitchen in 2016.

Johnston says community members in Fort St. John have supported them since they arrived. She adds that helping fundraisers and events is the least they can do.

Not only does the company fundraise and help with events, but they also provide food to certain organizations in the community, such as the Women’s Resource Society.

“We don’t have any one set group or there’s not a criteria or like anything like that. It’s just, that we have people that have come up to us and have asked us.”

Sometimes they will provide a free meal to those who come in and ask as well.

Unfortunately, the business can’t always agree to help out every organization or community member that asks but Johnston says it’s “a no for right now, not a no forever.”

Co-op highlights people in Fort St. John who should be recognized for their work in the community. Anyone looking to nominate a community-minded person in need of recognition can head to Energeticcity’s website.

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Tre Lopushinsky is the News Director at Energeticcity.ca, and a NAIT broadcasting graduate. His love for local journalism started in Lloydminster, where he realized the importance of covering issues/topics for smaller municipalities. He is also the co-host of Before The Peace, highlighting Indigenous voices in the North Peace. In his off time, Tre is yelling at his tv while watching pro wrestling, MMA, and basketball.