The isolation and disconnection of the COVID pandemic has hit us indiscriminately this past year. Yet for many of our neighbours in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, the closure of vital spaces to connect and meet basic needs—such as a warm meal—have been devastating. To respond, Kilala Lelum Indigenous Health Centre quickly developed a new meal program, centred around employing people from the community to prepare and distribute food, with the support of one staff coordinator/mentor.
Our program is currently funded by a COVID-response grant from the United Way, which ends on February 22nd, 2021.
Knowing the pandemic will be felt well into the fall, we are seeking any and all support to continue this vital service going. With COVID safety protocols in place, our frontline workers serve around 700 hot dinners a week to any member of the community who comes to our door during service. People who are unable to safely come to us can receive meals and groceries delivered to them by our team members. All meals are cooked, packed and served by men and women of the community working together safely in the kitchen to create balanced and nutritious meals.
Almost all of our food is supplied through donations from local grocers and distributors, and so all funds raised here go to our small operating costs - primarily paying the frontline workers who keep this essential service going.
$5 delivers a hot meal and grocery bag to someone who cannot safely leave their home at this time.
$25 serves almost 10 nutritious meals to DTES residence who need them most
$100 pays a week’s wages for one of our peer workers, while they receive valuable job training
$1,990 pays for one week of our operating costs that lets us meet the essential needs of our community
Watching people learn about food, gain new skills and see their hardwork going back into the community they love, is extremely inspiring. As a team we get to witness this nightly as a line forms around the block. By giving people job training and meaningful employment, and finding creative and safe ways to connect the community to nutritious meals and to each other, we will continue to keep people fed, combat isolation, and reduce the spread of COVID-19.