The Grandview Park people are a joyous group of friends who meet daily and support one another with camaraderie through the good times and the not so good times. Several people in this circle and from the surrounding street community pass away each year. Lacking homes to invite friends home for a memorial, this little group pulls together to organize outside memorials for loved ones, puts on feasts for birthdays and holidays and former street people bring hot homemade food to the park as often as they can. Music usually springs forth performed by fellow street musicians. This is where our Neighbourhood Small Grants play a role.
We book Joe’s Cafe to hold events. The staff at Joe’s are the most gracious and understanding. We used a Neighbourhood Small Grant for a big dinner and sock giveaway a few years back. We gave out 200 pairs of warm socks and small gifts that day, packed up the leftover food to give away after dinner and had the best music ever. We were thrilled to have many community seniors arrive for the party! Recently we had a memorial for Chad at Joe’s. Two other poor souls passed on or near the park the same night Chad left us. Chad was the tall fellow with the dreads and the big dog named Otis who was always leading the way for Chad. Unless you pay attention to the neighbourhood and who lives there you might not notice who is missing, but that little community reels after each loss.
Recently our area used a Neighbourhood Small Grant for free clothes give away in different areas near Commercial Drive. We put up a few racks of good clothing in Grandview Park, along with beverages and free masks and gloves. Some of the youth in our area sell at Eastside Pride in the park. They can always count on the street community to help erect the tent and get the equipment from the car to the tent. Our next small grant project is being prepared. We are assembling waterproof bags with socks, toques, black cotton masks, and Tim Horton’s and Bon’s Off-Broadway gift certificates to give out to the street community in our area. I appreciate the Neighbourhood Small Grant’s people calling applicants to help modify grants that might not make it through the vetting process. I love that so many community-minded folks are happy to put the thought and labour into making our eastside community thrive!