It’s hard to care about anything these days. As soon as you start caring, the pile of issues that come along with any given cause is so daunting that we don’t even know where to start taking action. How can one little person make a true difference?
In come, 3 very cool people that care and who did take action: Andrea, Eddy and Thomas. These guys are the true definition of friendship and by just being together and themselves, they are already making the world a better place. They started the SIDEWALK Supper Project. The concept is pretty simple. They cook delicious home-cooked meal in their kitchen and share them with people who need them in their very own Vancouver neighbourhood, the West End. From a full-on Easter supper to a Greek feast or more recently a hearty brunch, these three cook just like they would for friends and family but instead have decided to feed the homeless who live right down the street from them.
I joined these guys on their last SSP adventure, a very special French brunch cooked up chef Thomas (could this be even more meant-to-be?). “There are quite a few homeless people in the West End. We wanted to get involved and thought this could be our way to contribute” explains Eddy as we head out with our prepared meals. “It’s very grass-root and very small but hopefully we can raise awareness along the way, change people’s perception and maybe even inspire people.” Well, you sure inspired me!
As we walk along Davie St, we first meet Richard, and then William George Nukon from the Yukon (as he charismatically introduced himself), and then a young couple from Alberta maybe down on their luck for a little while. I was not quite sure what to expect when we headed out. Would people be weary of these strangers handing out food? Would they welcome the help? As we met each one of them, I was amazed how appreciative they were of our small gesture. William Nukon said it best – Christmas for my belly! More so than the food, people appreciated being seen and heard. In a world where it is so easy to feel invisible, we took the time to listen to them. And so, they shared their stories. We even met other people who were making a difference in their own way. As we approached the couple from Alberta, a gentleman had just sat to talk with them and donate a tent.
Yes, it is hard to care but Andrea, Eddy and Thomas are proof that even a small step, a small gesture can make a difference. Not everyone can cook or spare a few meals but everyone can do something and something is always better than nothing. All those little steps add up and together we will make a bigger difference. It’s just a matter of figuring out what your small step will be…
For the SIDEWALK Supper Project, the ball has already started rolling. After only a couple months, they’ve received an amazing amount of positive response from donations to publicity or special contributions. A supporter even offered to provide handmade cards to go with the meals next time!
My step? Well, hopefully my smile project does make a small difference but I am committed to build on that. So my next step is to join the SIDEWALK Supper Project movement and bring it to my neighbourhood, Kits! Stay tuned!
A little bit more inspiration from Eddy:
What made you smile today?
William made me smile. Even though he’s led a tough life and has some serious struggles, he was so genuinely joyful to chat with us. Also, the fact that we met someone who donated a tent to a couple living on the streets made me happy. It’s great to see how much people care, especially when it translates to action.
Has doing the SIDEWALK Supper Project changed your perception of your community in any way?
Yes, it’s changed my perceptions immensely! I’ve been doing lots of research on homelessness and have learned so much about the causes and consequences. Meeting real people in our neighbourhood who live on the streets and hearing their stories has really opened up my eyes to how different each person’s circumstances can be. Everyone on the streets has a story, just like we do.
It has also been mind-blowing how much support we’ve been getting from people. From donations to publicity to strangers reaching out and wanting to get involved (like you!), it’s been a humbling and encouraging experience to see how much people care and want to help.
What has surprised you the most from doing this project?
I’d say my biggest surprise is how natural it feels now. The idea of meeting people on the streets and handing out food was a little intimidating at first. I’ve volunteered at homeless shelters and have visited seriously impoverished parts of the world before, but taking on this mission in my own home felt daunting. I didn’t know how we would be received or what the experience would be like. Overall, the people we’ve fed have been incredibly warm, grateful, and interesting. Even funny at times! It really doesn’t feel any different from striking up a conversation with any other ordinary neighbour, nor should it.
The SIDEWALK supper project is a group of young West Enders who bring the warmth of their kitchen to the streets, feeding the homeless with home-cooked meals and sharing their stories along the way. 100% non-profit. 100% love.
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