A Day on the DTES

Arusha Times News

Recently I, along with 2 classmates, Mrs. Lund and some wonderful indigenous staff from Squamish Nation, went to serve the people in the Vancouver downtown eastside. Before this field trip, I personally had a lot of poor experiences with people in this area and so definitely had some negative preconceptions. However, when we got out of the car to hand out the 200 bagged lunches*, my opinion could not have been more wrong.

While we were getting everything out of the car someone pulled up beside us on a bike and asked for whatever we were giving out. This person had approached politely and asked us for food and when we gave it to him, he was very thankful and appreciative. We went around for several blocks handing out our bagged lunches and quickly ran out of food. The way that everyone smiled and thanked us for giving out free JKCS bagged lunches was enough to make me go from skeptical of how they were going to act towards me to happy that I had the opportunity to serve so many people in need.

My experience with this field trip was great overall; the Squamish Nation staff and guardians that helped us hand out bagged lunches and keep us safe were friendly, and the people I met on the streets were kind.  I hope that everyone can do this field trip at least once,  especially if you were like me and had a disoriented view of people who are currently experiencing homelessness.  A field trip like this, the simple interaction of handing out a bagged lunch to someone, can open your eyes and change your perception of people.

*Each bagged lunch contained a bottle of water, a juice box, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich (a favorite for downtown eastside residents) and a muffin freshly made in the JKCS Foods Lab by our student volunteers, a sweet candy treat and orange.

-Matthew Q. (10B)