It was six months ago today that I became the Executive Director of Potluck. It seems a good point to check in with you and tell you a bit about what I am learning about Potluck’s community impact.
Potluck Café Society has employed people with barriers to employment for seventeen years. Many of you know about our catering business, which employs DTES residents with barriers to employment. We also run several community programs that get more healthy food into the Downtown Eastside neighbourhood while also creating employment.
Whether our staff have health issues, are homeless, or dealing with mental illness and addictions, Potluck offers them a decent wage, the supports they need to get back into the workforce and help with issues that come up that might prevent them from making it to work.
I know what this means for our staff because I grew up in poverty. Though my mother had part time work, money was scarce in our house- the economy in our town was bad and she also struggled with demons that can afflict people who grow up in violence and abuse.
I wish there had been a Potluck for my mother. There were many times that some help was needed. There were many times that my mother stumbled, before she got back up and tried again.
Poverty is not just a line in the sand that a person steps across. It takes time to heal. It takes support to regain the sense of self that poverty takes away from a person.
Potluck’s supportive environment provides that time and support. A few weeks ago, Brad, a new dishwasher in our kitchen, came in on his day off to let us know he’d lost his mom. They’d been close, and he needed to take some time to go back home. The very day he came back to town, he came by the café. He wasn’t scheduled to work; he just wanted to sit down and have a coffee. He told me he came to Potluck because everyone is so friendly and positive and he just needed that lift. I know what he’s talking about. I feel it every day I work here.
If you haven’t had a chance to come by Potluck for a lift, we’d love to see you.
And if you feel certain of Potluck’s impact, if you agree that patience and time are part of this work, I’d ask you to support our work by signing up as a monthly donor. Even a $10 monthly donation can help us lift more people in our community.