The mission of Potluck Café Society is to transform lives by providing employment and hands-on training to members of the community who face barriers to traditional employment, and providing healthy, nutritious food for people living in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.
Our commitment to working closely with our community, with both the people living in the DTES and other organizations in the DTES, is why we do what we do.
A great example would be our partnering with H.A.VE Culinary Training Society, to prepare meals for SRO residents.
These programs don't define us, but define our values, our goals, our mission.
Thanks to funding from both the City of Vancouver and a philanthropic donation from a local Vancouver foundation, Potluck is able to provide 1825 meals every week to hard-to-house residents in the DTES, including those in SRO's and the unhoused.
These meals are prepared fresh and packaged by our kitchen staff. Every weekday, community peers hand out 100 hot meals (and an extra 85 on Tuesday's)!
City of Vancouver employees pick up over 1200 meals every Friday morning to then deliver to 7 different locations.
"Beat the Heat" Lemonade Stand
To help the residents of the DTES, we thought what better way to keep people cool than by providing chilled lemonade. We were also successful in providing community members with some low-barrier employment too.
A "pay-what-you-can' program, provided community members the chance to donate to our social programs should they so choose, all while drinking some yummy lemonade.
Greatly appreciated by the community, this program ran from July 2022, to September 2022, provided over 3000 cups of lemonade and over 340 hours of employment.
In our previous location, Potluck had a weekly fruit market in summer for the community, giving them low cost access to fresh seasonal fruits.
Since it was so well received, we thought we'd bring it back!
Over the course of 8 weeks, we provided over 300 bags of fresh fruit, at community pricing - think, $1 bags of blueberries.
Holiday Meal Program
Potluck has recently joined forces with the YWCA Vancouver Single Mothers Program to provide a Holiday Meal Program for the singles mothers they support. This meal program will see us providing family-style holiday meals over Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter.
What divine timing too, because they have recently welcomed and begun supporting just shy of 80 Ukrainian refugee mothers along with their children, and we think it would be a warm welcome to Canada to provide them with a family-style, "traditional" Canadian Thanksgiving meal.
Thanksgiving was a HIT! Check our blog post here and keep your eyes on our socials for updates after the Christmas dinners!
Homelessness Action Week
For many years, Potluck donated hot and fresh meals to residents during Homelessness Action Week.
This year, we partnered with DTES Neighbourhood House, and provided 300 meals of Beef Stroganoff Pasta to residents of the neighbourhood and others who visit this organization.
The 32nd Annual Women's Memorial March
For a number of years, Potluck has participated in Vancouver's Annual Women's Memorial March. Next year, for the 32nd annual march, we'll be there to honour the lives of missing and murdered women in the Downtown Eastside.
Hot Chocolate Stand
To keep on par with our mission of the lemonade stand, we're hosting a hot chocolate stand at our location Monday - Friday, end date undetermined (or really, as long as it needs to run!)
This program will be again pay-what-you-can / by donation. ..best of all, it sees 3 young women from the DTES working 30 weekly hours of low-barrier employment.
It's in its early days, so keep your eyes on our social media and website blog for updates!
We aren't done there. Potluck has a few programs being planned, developed, and implemented in the coming months. Keep an eye on our socials, or join our mailing list, to get up-to-date and first sneak peaks at new programs
Over the past two decades, we feel privileged to have made a contribution to the DTES Community that has had an impact on its members.
However, we fully recognize none of this would have been possible without the support and partnership of other organizations, not-for-profits, and our well wishers who have generously contributed in so many ways to Potluck's efforts.
This section is dedicated to acknowledge and thank all of you, who have helped us along our journey.