DTES Response: Supporting Downtown Eastside Organizations During COVID-19

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Organizations in the Downtown Eastside are uniting more than ever to ensure this unprecedented threat does not disproportionately affect the most vulnerable in our communities. DTES Response is a coordinated groundwork effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

DTES Response

“The situation is serious and it is urgent. In a neighbourhood where space, food, supplies, and everything is shared, if we have one infection, it could decimate this entire community,” says Wendy Pedersen, Organizer, DTES SRO Collaborative Society. “Living conditions are already dire, and this is only going to get worse if we don’t act now.”

There are approximately 15,000 people at risk in the DTES. 3,000 are homeless and 4,700 are at high risk in privately run Single Room Occupancy hotels (SROs).

Under these conditions, self isolating and social distancing is extremely difficult. SRO tenants share bathrooms and many do not have access to soap, making regular hand washing impossible. SROs do not have kitchens, soup kitchens have shut down, food banks have limited stock, and disruptions in informal economies creates loss of income. Additionally, many SRO tenants don’t have cell phones, so in self-isolation, they can’t stay connected, communicate, or get necessary information.

DTES Response is mobilizing resources and coordinating operations to mitigate the challenges. They are activating networks in the community to create a stop-gap plan for the most urgent needs. For instance: providing food, cellphones, and money for loss of income. “We’ve been seeing community amenities closing,” local organizer, Erica Grant says, “and on the weekends, there is no food available.”

DTES Response Fund

The DTES Response has set up a collective fund to raise $100,000 for immediate needs. It will benefit: DTES SRO Collaboration (SRO-C), Western Aboriginal Harm Reduction Society (WAHRS), Friends of CCAP (Carnegie Community Action Project), and Overdose Prevention Society (OPS) who are supporting and connecting directly with people in the neighbourhood.

How you can help

Individuals, foundations, and corporations can help right now by:

Follow DTES Response on Twitter for updates and sign up for the newsletter to be kept up-to-date on developing opportunities to get involved.

Related: Buy Megaphone Magazine Online and Support Your Local Vendor; Support the Greater Vancouver Food Bank During COVID-19

Vote for the Connecting the Community Award

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As you may have heard, the 2020 YWCA Metro Vancouver Women of Distinction Awards presented by Scotiabank scheduled for May 11, 2020 have been postponed. However, voting for the Connecting the Community Award remains open!

2019 Nominees – can’t wait until we can celebrate with the distinguished 2020 group!

Vote for the Connecting the Community Award

In addition to the award category in which they are nominated, all nominees are eligible to be the recipient of the Connecting the Community Award – the only award category where the recipient is selected by public vote. Each nominee has chosen a YWCA program that she finds personally meaningful and receives a chance to donate $10,000, courtesy of Scotiabank, to the YWCA program of her choice. Voting for the Connecting the Community Award will close on April 24, 2020 at 12:00pm. Please take a moment to vote now »

View the full list of 2020 YWCA
Women of Distinction Award nominees here »

Eligible YWCA Causes for the Nominees to Support

Each nominee shares her cause and why it is important to her, through social media. The public votes online and the nominee with the most votes receives the Connecting the Community Award. Scotiabank then donates $10,000 to her chosen YWCA cause on the night of the Awards.

Continued Support During COVD-19

As an organization that provides critical services to vulnerable people in our community, the YWCA is mobilizing to find the right balance between responsibility to the people they serve and caution to keep our community safe. The YWCA Women of Distinction Awards means so much to the organization and community and raises critical funds to support some of our region’s most marginalized women and families. They are working with Parq to secure a new date and will let you know as soon as they are able to reschedule.

In the meantime, consider supporting YWCA Crabtree Corner. Families with young children and seniors in the Downtown Eastside face even greater needs for Crabtree Corner’s services. Donations can be made here

YWCA Women of Distinction

Follow the YWCA of Vancouver on Facebook and Twitter for more information. Miss604 is a proud sponsor of the YWCA Women of Distinction Awards, since 2010.

Granville Island Market Delivered to You Through Virtual Tours and Grocery Kits

Comments 1 by Rebecca Bollwitt

With the Vancouver Foodie Tours grounded during COVID-19 the knowledgeable team has put their services to good use and will now bring Granville Island Market delivered to your door through virtual tours and curated foodie grocery kits.

Granville Island Market Delivered to You Through Virtual Tours and Grocery Kits

Fruit at Granville Island Miss604 Rebecca Bollwitt
Fruit at Granville Island – Miss604 Photo

“These days, we all have to practice responsible social distancing. So while we pause our Vancouver Foodie Tour live experience, we are pleased to introduce the Granville Island Foodie Delivery to bring the tastes, scents and magic of Vancouver’s world-famous Public Market right into your home.”

Delectable delights are carefully chosen by the team and market merchants. You’ll get printed stories and online access to a virtual guided tour of the history of Granville Island, Public Market vendors, and the food products themselves as you taste and sample right at home.

Choose from a selection of curated packages or select from prime ingredients to custom build your own. Each kit is prepared and packed using the most current hygiene protocols and FOODSAFE™ practices.

Book online here »

Treat yourself with a mindful taste experience or send a ‘cheer package’ to physically-distanced family, friends, co-workers or clients – all while supporting the hardworking merchants of the Granville Island Public Market.

Find out more by following Vancouver Foodie Tours on Facebook and Twitter.

Vancouverites in Isolation Elsewhere: Anne in New York

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I have reached out to some of my friends around the globe who are originally from the “604” area to see how they’re doing during the COVID-19 pandemic. Here is the second in the Vancouverites in Isolation Elsewhere series:

Vancouverites in Isolation Elsewhere: Anne in New York

Name: Anne (Twitter, Instagram)
Hometown: Surrey, BC
Current City/Home: New York, NY

Vancouverites in Isolation Elsewhere_ Anne in New York 2

What is your city like right now?

Eerily quiet and oddly somber. Living next to 8.5 million of your closest friends packed into a postage stamp, you get used to a lot of background noise. Now that we’re officially on a city-wide lockdown (or as the city brands it, “On Pause”), there’s a distinct weird vibe. Almost every store front is closed & shuttered. Notes are taped to most front doors stating “Closed to help do our part to flatten the curve”. Streets and sidewalks are empty and the lack of humans has also made an impact on the wildlife here – there are definitely more city rats roaming around (I heard Italy got Swans, I wish it were Swans here :/ )

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London Drugs Will Distribute Girl Guide Cookies in Stores and Online

Comments 3 by Rebecca Bollwitt

You’ve probably seen the photo by now, the boxes upon boxes of cookies left waiting in pallets as door-to-door sales have been discontinued. But as they tend to do, because they’re awesome and always step up when needed, London Drugs will distribute Girl Guide cookies in stores and online.

London Drugs will Distribute Girl Guide Cookies in Stores and Online

Girl Guide Cookies
Girl Guides Canada

Upon learning of the challenges Girl Guides of Canada face with 800,000 boxes of cookies needing to be sold to support ongoing programs in BC, London Drugs is extending a helping hand. As of this afternoon, residents in British Columbia’s lower mainland will begin to see Girl Guide cookies in London Drugs stores, and in the coming days, Girl Guide cookies will soon be available for thousands of Canadians through London Drugs’ 82 stores across Western Canada and online.

“Since 1927, Girl Guides have been going door-to-door selling cookies to support our wide range of programs for girls and young women in our communities,” said Diamond Isinger, provincial commissioner for BC, Girl Guides of Canada.

“With physical distancing being so critical in Canada right now, we know door-to-door and public sales are not an option at this time, and we need to get creative. London Drugs has come forward with the offer to provide significant logistical support to safely get our cookies into the homes of British Columbians and we couldn’t be more grateful.” 

“Most families have had connections to Girl Guides at some point in their lives,” said Clint Mahlman, London Drugs president and chief operating officer. “And certainly, all Canadians have enjoyed Girl Guide cookies and supporting their important programs. During this time of great change and chaos thrown into how businesses, non-profits, on how all of us work and live, if we can find new ways to support each other, then this is a bright light during a time that is shrouded in grey.” 

All sales of the cookies will go directly to Girl Guides of Canada; London Drugs is simply providing a safe distribution network.

“Thousands of Girl Guides are staying home for everyone’s health and safety, while looking at their boxes of cookies and wondering how they can get them sold to support their empowering Guiding activities when in-person programs can resume,” added Isinger. “It is such welcome news knowing we have a business that is stepping up to help us find a solution.”

London Drugs has picked up more than 1000 cases/12,000 boxes of cookies that will be available as of the afternoon of March 25 at all London Drugs stores in the lower mainland. Following that, London Drugs will be working with the Girl Guides of Canada to find routes from other hubs and warehouses, to get these cookies distributed to Canadians, across the country. 

Vancouverites in Isolation Elsewhere: Preston in Los Angeles

Add a Comment by Rebecca Bollwitt

I have reached out to some of my friends around the globe who are originally from the “604” area to see how they’re doing during the COVID-19 pandemic. Here is the second in the Vancouverites in Isolation Elsewhere series:

Vancouverites in Isolation Elsewhere: Preston in Los Angeles

Name: Preston (WebsiteTwitter, Instagram)
Hometown: North Vancouver
Current City/Home: Anaheim, California

Vancouverites in Isolation Elsewhere_ Preston in Los Angeles

What is your city like right now?

I live and work near Disneyland where it’s always busy, but now it’s a ghost town.  In the more urban areas, the traffic is very low for this city, but I still see a lot of people out and about – more than you would imagine for a lockdown city.  America has a very different attitude than Canadians – other than the Olympics, many struggled with “we’re all in this together”, so I see the struggles to keep everyone quarantined and safe for others here.

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