The warm months surely came and went quite quickly, didn't they? Now here comes the cold and rain...
Despite this, we're ready and prepared to provide for the DTES in any way we can during the winter season, and one way we're doing that is with a hot chocolate stand! I know what you're thinking, pffft hot chocolate. But hear me out! What better way to get someone to smile, warm up their hands, bellies and heart, than with a freshly made hot chocolate, served by community staff, in a grassroots kind of way..in that I mean we hold this stand right outside our front doors at 298 E Hastings.
We did something similar in the summer, a lemonade stand. We called it "Beat the Heat" …cute, eh? Over the course of the 9 weeks it ran, we served over 3000 cups of chilled lemonade to residents, neighbours, and other passerby's and provided over 350 hours of casual, low-barrier employment to 6 people facing barriers to traditional employment. It was a success, I'd say, with it being the first true social program I, Andrea the Social Programs Manager, built and ran.
Now, our hot chocolate stand is set to be open 10 hours/week, with staffing hours at 30 hours a week to three new Potluck staff. These staff, young mothers with various barriers, were recommended by a community partner we cherish, Brenda Kadey, Manager at YWCA Crabtree Housing.
We're so excited to see how this goes over the next 12-14 weeks, and we hope we can expand it to include other needs...maybe breakfast, clothe drives etc. If you have a sec and extra dollar, feel free to head over to our CanadaHelps page and donate to this program under the drop down!
And keep an eye our on socials over the next few weeks, we will surely post lots of pictures and videos of this program!