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A Simple Miracle on 46th Ave
On September 13, 2015, a miracle happened. The idea first came as a simple afternoon of celebration, connection, & community building on the 100 E. Block of 46th Ave & Main Street in Vancouver. We were raising our family in this neighbourhood. We lived here for over 10 years – yet we did not feel connected to the people here. Moreover – we often felt it was unsafe to allow our young children to play outside. Hence, we wanted to make a difference and help create the type of community that we would feel safe in.
Early in the morning there was a busy buzz as people of all ages came together to set up for our main street showcase party. The church on the corner assisted and was gracious to lend us equipment, audio and more importantly they provided the event with caring and compassionate volunteers. Our celebrations began with a carnival for the little children in the neighbourhood. There was face painting, balloon sculpting, and some games led by the youth in the community.
We also wanted to involve the neighbours. A few weeks before, we asked them all to do their part by bringing a dish to the potluck. We also asked them to bring their stories to share about how they came to live in the neighbourhood. We went door to door to invite each neighbour personally.
This was the perfect neighbourhood to host an ethnic potluck. The assortment of foods that the families brought was amazing and showcased the diversity in the community. There were spring rolls, spinach dip, samosas, pizza, seafood paella, stroganoff, fried noodle, sushi, salads, and hot dogs on the grill! The showcase of food reminded us of how blessed we are to be able to live where we are and be able have such an abundance of food!
People of all ages came to join the show case throughout the day. We gifted the families that came with coffee plants and everyone with personalized bottles of water. The South Vancouver Community Policing Centre even brought their Police Mascot “Chip” to join in the festivities. Their team led an informative and engaging obstacle course for learning about how to build safe communities.
The Neighbourhood Emergency Preparedness Program (NEPP) from the City of Vancouver was also invited to give an emergency planning workshop. We were all able to learn how to prepare for, respond to, and recover from earthquakes, tsunamis, heat waves and other disasters. The workshop leader was a motivational speaker and inspired all of us to take emergency planning seriously and challenged us to start to think about we are going to do as a community if a crisis ever strikes. We ended off the event by sharing stories that showcased the diversity of our community. The event was a success! Our conversations and fellowship lasted way past the time we intended for our event to end – the mingling continued and neighbours all pitched in to help with the clean up.
All in all, we believe that the process of planning and seeing it to fruition was the true blessing in disguise. Yes, it took a lot of planning, organizing and energy to make this event happen. But, we believe that as we gave to this main street community showcase block party, we personally received the most.
Today, we feel so much more connected to others in our neighbourhood. We know so much more about our community, about the people who live in it, and their unique stories. Most importantly, we feel at home. We are looking forward to more gatherings and celebrations with our neighbours.
And that is the story of a simple miracle on 46th Ave.
Photo credits: Jenn Hildebrand Photography