April 1, 2015 | POSTED BY Kim McMullen
For the past 8 years, the Flipside team has fronted a rogue community charitable effort in Vancouver, BC.
We call it the Great Sandwich Make.
It’s a two-day event that aims to feed and give hope and support to those experiencing homelessness, addiction, and mental illness in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.
Every year, the event starts with a simple ask:Can you help us do a little good?
In just six weeks, that email had inspired friends, family, colleagues, clients, companies, and completestrangers to raise their hands, get involved, and donate the following:
44 people volunteers to make sandwiches and stuff kits at Trail Appliances (who donated their space to us without hesitation.)
Another 20 showed up to hand-deliver the kits downtown to perfect strangers.
Together we made 902 healthy delicious living kits AND 1000 sandwiches – whole grain, meaty, delicious and nutritious.
We don’t take pictures on delivery day out of respect for the folks downtown. That said, the experiences are etched on our hearts – more memorable than any photograph. Here is what happened: On Sunday, March 15, we filled seven vehicles to the very ceiling with 902 kits. We headed to four locations:
– Main & Cordova
– Triage Shelter (Powell Street)
– Princess Rooms Transitional Housing
– The Vivian (Transitional Housing for women)
We walked the streets, bags in hand, and handed out to those in need. We started at 10:00. By 10:30, all 902 kits were in appreciative hands. Our cars were empty. Our hearts were full.
Everyone had a personal experience. A candid conversation. A warm smile. One girl, perhaps no more than 20 shivering in a bikini top and ripped pants, a cigarette quivering on her lips said: “Those cookies are the best cookies I’ve ever had.” We told her they were homemade. “No shittin” she said. “I can taste the love.” She thanked us about 12 times for those cookies in the span of 10 minutes.
Another man accepting a kit said “I’m not homeless but I am stuck in a rut and I’m trying to get myself out of it. This means a lot to us, so you know.”
Every recipient was grateful in their own right. So many smiles. Sheepish nods. And bold Thank Yous. Never doubt that a small act of kindness can make a big difference. Today, we made a difference for 902 people.
It was small, yes. But it was noticed. And it mattered.