Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Kettle Friendship Society

We were invited to a special Christmas Dinner. I know, for normal people Christmas had come and gone but to the volunteers and other workers of The Kettle, Christmas is a busy time for them to help people in need so they postpone their festivities until the end of January.

There are several organizations working throughout the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver and I had not been that familiar with the Kettle before, even though I often pass by their drop in centre.


I know there are many agencies which require a helping hand and most of us often give to the Salvation Army or other worthwhile charities. As members of local car clubs we support the Cruise for Kids, and through the BC Corvette Club we also donate to many charities every year, like the Telethon and we also sponsor a handicapped van through Easter Seals.

Here is a short mission statement taken from their website "" (<--click link)

Changing Lives, Building Community

"Mental illness, coupled with stigma, low incomes and substance abuse – these are issues that thousands in our city face. They are the people we see every day in our communities as we go about our business; individuals who have found themselves overwhelmed by circumstance and feel forgotten by society. They need a helping hand to mobilize and access resources, eventually building trust, and most importantly hope."


There were over 350 people here, mostly "underprivileged" people that I had perhaps passed on the streets who were here through no fault of their own. The Kettle also operates assisted housing units and there is even an on-site health clinic. I wasn't sure what to expect when it was mentioned to be a Christmas dinner, so I came in work attire which means dress shirt and slacks, extremely overdressed in view of the "clientele" of the Kettle. There was a table specifically for the Directors of the Society but other than them and us, I did feel a little self concious and a little out of place.


All the time while I was eating my Christmas Turkey Dinner (complete with stuffing and all the trimmings) I was thinking that I shouldn't be here and eating this food when it could have been given to someone more deserving, and that their hard earned sponsorship funds could have been better directed.

After dinner was served, there was the dessert. I am not positive but I believe that the catering company donated their facilites (fewer bookings in January). The tables were cleared and Santa was welcomed in to distribute Toys for the children.


Simple toys that were selected and individualized for each child, but you should have seen the smiles of joy in their eyes when their names were called and presents were opened.

The Band is getting ready to play. For one evening they (the clients) are able to enjoy themselves, have a good meal get some entertainment and leave the pressures of the world behind with a feeling that someone cares for them.

(The Directors: Kettle Friendship Society)

As I watch the Band and the dancing I am thinking how lucky we are to be able to leave this place and resume our normal lives . . .

and to be very thankful for what we have.


  1. Well, that one came out of nowhere! Here I was thinking Christmas was safely behind us and you regurgitate it...So what was for pudding?

  2. My wife's school just had their staff Christmas party a few weeks ago. Less hectic time. Nice post and it looked like a great dinner.

  3. We are indeed fortunate to be who and where we are ... and not be "them and where they are". The astonishing thing is that sometimes that difference is the result of a very tiny choice made along this highway we call life.

  4. It's amazing how being around people different than us can break down barriers.

    These days I pretty much put armor around me when I am walking down the streets. I've seen too many bad choices and people who take advantage of a stranger's kindness. Started in my cop days and continues, I guess.

    On the opposite side are those who suffer through no fault of their own. I once spent some time driving a morning bus route for a rehabilition center. The passengers were clients dealing with mental and physical challenges. What a loving bunch of people, they were. One simply needed to look past the exterior.

    Yours is a good post. It looks past the actual meal into the real situation. There are certainly no easy answers but may we all do what we can to help. What you describe is why Katie and I try to extend help to individuals we become aware of. We're sure that way that a hundred percent of our efforts goes where it is intended.

    Sorry for the long comment. It is not a shallow post!

  5. Very nice post Bobscoot. Seems strange to think of Christmas now (I'm ready for spring), but I'm glad you were able to share in blessing a few others, who have much to deal with in their lives.

  6. Dear Bob Skoot:

    There for the grace of God go you and I. Nice blog episode today.

    Fondest regards,
    Jack • reep • Toad
    Twisted Roads

  7. Summary Group Reply:

    sometimes you have to be put in your place and see what it's like in the real world. We isolate ourselves in our own world choosing to be where it is more comfortable. I know that when I travel on the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver right away the local residents know I don't belong. Even when I wear my tattered jacket and worn blue jeans. Somehow my cover gets blown. A lot of these people do require a little help, a meal, and a roof with a warm place to call home. Organizations such as the Kettle are doing a good service. I am grateful for the chance to experience the goodness of the evening and sit back and watch the "clients" retreat from a seemingly, uncaring world, if only for a few hours.