It is obviously an understatement to suggest that a great deal has changed in the lives of many, many people across the world since the Covid-19 pandemic was declared just over twelve months ago. For the people of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside that has meant, among other things, less opportunity to connect with people in person and less opportunity to avail themselves of some basic necessities that many of us take for granted. The social isolation, and the lack of comfortable, safe housing for many of our guests, particularly over the dark, cold days and nights of winter was undoubtedly extremely difficult. The overdose crisis that has plagued the city for years has also continued to affect many and the situation seems at times to be a problem almost too challenging to fix. But the strength and resilience of the guests who come to the Door is Open for a meal and perhaps an article of clothing or some footwear, along with a kind greeting, is both amazing and heartwarming to witness. Even more amazing to the small group of staff and volunteers who have been able to continue serving our guests, is the gratefulness and compassion shown by our guests despite all the hardships they are facing. They sincerely appreciate our efforts and let us know that on a daily basis. I, for one, continue to feel very fortunate to experience that appreciation.
We continue to take many precautions to keep our guests, staff and volunteers safe and have so far been encouraged by the fact that the coronavirus cases reported in the Downtown Eastside have, at least at this point, been relatively minimal. In order to operate as safely as possible, we continue to serve meals on a “to go” basis from the front entrance of the building. While we all would have liked to have been able to invite our clients indoors for some respite from the cold and rain over the fall and winter months, we were just not able to do that. Hopefully our guests felt some comfort in the warm bowls of soup, and the plates of pasta, chicken or other hot food items that we cooked for them. Now that the warmer weather of spring and summer is upon us, we will to continue to provide hot food items along with cold drinks, sandwiches, sweets and other items.
We are extremely grateful to the donors who continue to provide food and funds to the Door is Open. Our clients, volunteers and staff continue to be very blessed, and we thank you for your continued thoughts and prayers.