On Saturday, August 24 a team of volunteers met at the Salvation Army’s Belkin House- a residential program facility downtown Vancouver. This was our second time back here and it was another amazing experience. The Belkin House is dedicated to breaking the cycle of homelessness by assisting the homeless and those at risk of homelessness to become self-sufficient and independent through the reduction of physical, emotional, social and spiritual barriers.
The Dozē team met at 3:30pm at the facility on Homer street, signed into the volunteer book and started with a short meet and greet with the rest of the Dozē volunteers. We talked about the Belkin House, their mission and purpose and the reason for us being there that afternoon. Shortly after we were introduced to the chef and several other volunteers who were out to help and were given a tour of the kitchen and a run down of the flow of the day. Then we were put to work- preparing the food for dinner which was being served at 5pm. Soup, salad, rice, scallop potatoes, smoked ham, fruit cups and juice… it was a feast. Just before 5pm we organized ourselves in a row behind the serving station as a line formed outside of the dining area and the residents were curiously looking in at us wondering who these kids were. At 5pm the doors opened and people started flooding in. 150 meals, many smiles and words of gratitude, and many funny remarks later we had served everyone. It was an experience to be exposed to the diverse people who came through- I am personally grateful for the exposure and new perspective it has offered me. To think a block away from this facility a purse is being sold for an amount that could feed this group 100 times over makes me shake my head… After everyone ate, it was our turn to eat the feast we cooked up. As we sat around the table sharing our experience, we also heard from one of the regular volunteers who was helping that day, Kevin. His story was nothing short from inspiring. From the streets of Cape Town to a lucky opportunity to seek a new life in Canada – Kevin spent his first years in Canada rotating between shelters. He then landed at the Belkin House and was accepted into their residency program. This was a chance for Kevin to build a new life. While living at the Belkin House he had shelter, he was fed and he was given the love, skills and tools to grow. He completed his culinary course that was offered by the facility and was assisted in finding a job in Vancouver. Kevin now lives on his own, works, and comes to the Belkin House 5 times a week to volunteer his time and give back to a community that helped him… wow
Clean up was the least favorite part, but part of the process and experience. Thanks everyone for coming out and volunteering your time. Thanks for making a difference. Next Dozē Day will be at the end of September… we have an excited experience lined up for you!