Nourishing the body and lifting the spirit
Remember going to the community swimming pool in the summer or skating in the winter as a child?
For families living in poverty, finding the money to ensure their children have the opportunity to participate in the arts, sports and other developmentally enriching activities is difficult. Recreation is a fundamental human need for people of all ages and essential to everyone’s psychological, social and physical well-being.
Every Saturday, at YWCA Crabtree Corner, families come together for a hot meal followed by a fun activity at no charge to them. The Saturday Family Activity Program provides a vital component of healthy child development. Children who participate in these activities are less likely to drop out of school and have fewer social and emotional problems.
For both adults and children, living in poverty can mean loneliness and exclusion from sports, recreation, culture and other activities where individual confidence, friendships and positive social skills and relationships are built. For children, especially, this can have long lasting effects both on development and health.
The satisfied smiles that come with the hot nutritious meals and enjoyment of the activities are due to the generous annual donation by RBC Foundation to Crabtree’s Community Kitchen Programs.
“RBC’s continued outstanding support of Crabtree Corner Community Kitchen Programs fills an urgent need in the Downtown Eastside nourishing many women and children. These women and their families may participate in one or more of the many programs offered,” says Brenda Ulmer, Director of Fund Development and Special Events.
Gladys Evoy has managed the program for seven years and says that many families living in poverty have benefited from this program. Over the years she has had the opportunity to see some of the children grow up and many friendships flourish. The program also serves as an informal support group for the women and a place to acquire good parenting skills.
Gladys, who was once a client herself, clearly enjoys creating a diverse program for people who don’t have the means to enjoy costly family activities. These outings, that would otherwise be cost prohibitive, are now available.
Trips to community swimming pools, libraries, bowling lanes and even a sea bus excursion to North Vancouver are quite common. In summertime, there are numerous seaside strolls and barbecues. Plenty of activities tie into special days, such as pumpkin patch romps, Christmas carolling and birthday parties year round. Dads are welcome to attend and often join their children in these special days. Volunteers from the UBC Trek Program are also on hand to help Gladys deliver the program.
The one common element of every Saturday is the delicious hot meal that Gladys and her helpers make. “I make it healthy and balanced,” says Gladys. “Chicken, hamburgers, pasta, meatballs or burritos with vegetables and fruit make up the usual fare. “ It’s clear that the food is a big draw. One woman wrote, “Thank you for the delicious food every Saturday.” No doubt she speaks for them all.
"RBC is proud to support YWCA and Crabtree Corner," says Donation Manager Jennifer Cabeldu. "The Saturday Family Activity Program offers outings for families who would otherwise not be able to participate. The peer support and activities for parents and children provided by this program are helping to build better futures." The YWCA is extremely grateful to RBC Foundation for providing this significant support for the sixth consecutive year.