A Day in the Downtown Eastside

By Emma Lee

I didn’t grow up in Vancouver, so I wasn’t really sure what to expect when I signed up for this project.

On February 7th, our CSIS department (Community Service and Internal Social) planned for 35 Rovers to travel across the city to the downtown eastside bright and early. It was amazing to see all these people so enthusiastic about feeding the homeless because it is something that I normally wouldn’t see back at home. It was so delightfully eye opening! Working with a team like this for a purpose like this was something I’ve never experienced before.



My role in this project was to gather food from grocers such as Safeway, and encourage them to support us by sponsoring us with gift cards to their store. With their generosity, our Rovers were able to pack enough lunch bags to feed a whole neighbourhood! I didn’t think it was possible, but we collected enough food and hot drink for 150 people. We covered the area between East Hastings, East Pender, Main, and Powell Street.


I can’t guarantee that we made any real, long term impact on the people we tried to help that day, but this project gave me something that I will keep with me for a long time. You could really see the appreciation on their faces; their genuine surprise to see us take the time out of our day to be with them, despite the awful weather conditions. At the beginning of this project, a lot of things were intimidating to me, especially working with such a big team and speaking to managers to ask for favours. But I’m glad I did this. You know an experience is rare and precious when you can’t use everyday words to effectively describe its kind of gratification.

Cheryl Kwan

One Response to “A Day in the Downtown Eastside

  • Mostafa
    3 years ago

    Thanks Emma for this great write-up to share your unique experience with us. You and the rest of volunteers did a fantastic job. It is not necessarily about the number of people who you fed, but rather how you touched theit heart and souls, and made them feel appreciated and cared for. That is indeed something amazing which you guys should be really proud of.
    May we all continue to care for others and br grategul for all our blessings in life.

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