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#1189 The Potluck Cafe, where job barriers come tumbling down


Helen Hill, a stalwart at the Potluck Cafe, is quoted in the video below, “I thought I would never find happiness and I found it in the Potluck Cafe.” Photo from the Potluck Cafe Facebook page.

Soup’s on at the Potluck Café, and it feeds both body and soul. The social enterprise, based in an area dubbed the poorest postal code in Canada, is bringing hope to some of British Columbia’s most marginalized residents.

The organization describes its work this way:

“As an award winning Social Enterprise, the mission of Potluck Café Society is to transform lives by creating jobs and providing healthy food for people living in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside (DTES).

“Potluck Café Society operates Potluck Café & Catering to create jobs for neighborhood residents with barriers to traditional employment and earn revenue to support its community programs.”

Scroll around among the photos on their Facebook page, and you’ll put the café on your map for your next visit to Vancouver. While gentrification worries many people in the DTES, this is one business that is not displacing residents. It is hiring and training them.

Beyond the employment aspect, Potluck Cafe is behind some of the most ambitious social programs in the DTES. The Community Meal Program dishes up nutritional meals for those living below the poverty level. The DTES Kitchen Tables Project collaborates with residents and service providers to give people access to “abundant healthy food in a dignified manner.”

Add to that a Community Kitchen, where twice a month residents come together to cook and learn nutrition skills. Finally, the Recipes for Success program works with businesses to create job opportunities for those who have barriers to employment.

The Potluck Café has been changing lives since 2001. In the world of social enterprise, that is a stunning record. Clearly, they have a lot to teach about being change makers.

You can follow Potluck Cafe Society on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.


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