Remembrance Day Free Pea(ce) Soup & Coffee Community Meal: How it Went & What We Learned
Remembrance Day- November 11, 2015
HOW THE DAY WENT
On a sunny and clear Remembrance Day, the ICO Victoria Community Engagement Team had the privilege to present and host a community meal. While the event was small, the weather was beautiful, we had an opportunity to meet members of the community, clients of Anowim House and active volunteers with Together Against Poverty Society (TAPS), and started to to build the processes for putting on community events, learning what we do well and where we need to improve.
The team prepared and provided pea (aka peace) soup, bean & lentil chili, coffee & tea. This meal was provided free of charge for anyone who stopped by; however, donations were accepted. 100% of those donations have gone into the cost of the meal, as well as a fund for future meals. The Team is committed to providing more of these kind of meals to the various communities in Victoria. Specifically, we want to provide a valuable service to those in the community who are homeless, at-risk for homelessness, unable to afford food after rent or are in any way struggling with poverty.
Although we did not reach as many people as we had hoped with this meal, there was a nice balance between old and new ICO friends, who were able to meet, dialogue and exchange ideas on how to improve Victoria together. Overall, the Remembrance Day proved to be a fantastic conversation starter, team building excercice and learning experience.
WHAT WE LEARNED
There were 3 main take-aways from this event for the Victoria Engagement Team:
- Community Partnerships: Going forward with an event like this again, ICO and the Victoria Engagement Team would develop one or two strong partnerships with community organizations, like Anowim House or Our Place, to better ensure that we provide needed and accessible services to the Victoria communities that we are seeking to engage and empower. For our next community meal, we are already in process of establishing community partners in the First Nations communities in Victoria through a collaboration with Susan Jones.
- Promote, Plan, Promote: For many of us on the Engagement Team, this event was a first time experience, wherein the initial planning and promotion was invaluable skill building for the team; however, further developing out more extensive planning and promotional capacity will be essential for maximizing future team sucess.
- Dialogue: The final take away, and most important from a relationship and human perspective, is that opening up dialogue with all members of the community empowers working together, provides insights into lives, pressures and communities that we may not fully understand, and engages the diverse, intelligent, empathetic and helpful people who work with ICO, whether they are at-risk for homelessness and working with TAPS to combat poverty or the CEO of their own company. The power of ICO is the confluence of all these different voices, challenging each other and working together produce more livable, safe, inclusive and human communities.
The Victoria Engagement Team was very happy to enjoy some great food, friends and sunshine while putting on this community meal. We look forward to providing more of these meals in the future. If you would like to help out or have a worthy cause that the Victoria Engagement Team could help with, please contact Matt at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!