Rivermist Blockwatch was happy to receive a $500 grant from Neighbourhood Small Gants Richmond. We had not had a social gathering for a few years, and we had several new members we didn’t know well.
We formed a committee of 4 people and started planning. We decided to have our event on September 10th, after the summer holidays were over.
We held 3 planning meetings and went shopping 2 times for decorations, supplies and food. We decided to have a potluck barbeque so our members could share ethnic dishes with each other. We served halal barbecue, beef burger and a vegetarian burger; our members provided the rest of the food. About half of our members showed up, 23 units, 50 people, including 8 children.
We also had games and activities for the children, like face painting, bubbles, and sidewalk chalk. We gave away 5 mum plants as door prizes at intervals during the event to keep members engaged. Daryl Harvey, our block watch chairperson, gave a welcome to everyone as follows: “On behalf of the River Mist Block Watch committee, I would like to welcome each and every one of you to our first Annual Block Watch BBQ. Especially a warm welcome to our newest members, Murray and Cora Schultz. River Mist is growing into a healthier and stronger community every day. We have overcome many hurdles in our previous years, and we will continue to do so again. There will be a draw every half hour with a signalling of my horn with an Honk. We acknowledge that we are located on the traditional and unceded territory of the Musqueam, Tsawwassen and Kwantlen people and that we are guests in the territory of the Indigenous peoples of this land. I would like to thank everyone who has worked so hard to make this all possible. Let the festivities begin!”
We were challenged by space because our co-op is currently under renovation, but our members pitched in, and we were able to create a welcoming, accessible, safe place for our members to get together. We learned the importance of considering different ethnic needs. The available food preference allowed for a sharing among members we hadn’t anticipated. Members want to share their culture with each other. We also learned the importance of getting together and spending time with our neighbours. We are safer and stronger together. After all the positive feedback we have received from our members, we will be planning more co-op block parties in the future, and we are all looking forward to getting together.