It almost feels like the calm before the storm. With the back and forth conversations with https://www.facebook.com/VicCoolAid?fref=ts , and https://www.facebook.com/JordansInteriorsandFloorCoverings?fref=ts earlier in the week, the conversation has been passionately turbulent. Now it's the calm. Victoria Cool Aid Society having a neighbourhood meeting, and C.A.R.T.S having a board meeting both Wednesday evening. It's that calm, that requires the patience to just let it be. To have the faith that the same spirit that brooded over the tomb that Jesus laid in will resurrect new life and new hope into our situation of being evicted from the parking lot of Queen's Manor.
We know with out exaggeration there is a need. Every week its around 100 - 120 people come for food. We're not offering a gourmet meal. It is a mere bag lunch; a sandwich, bananas, a drink, socks, personal hygiene products, baking, soup and other small stuff. Folks come early waiting in line, some hungrier, try and sneek through twice. I think this amplifies the dire need of many of the marginalized folks in the inner city. Often it's this meager meal that gets them through the day.
I hope there is the collective desire by all parties concerned to let us carry on in the parking lot. Because, it's not just about the food. It is profoundly, the human connection. Someone on the street told me long ago that the worst poverty is when you have no human connection, a friend to turn to. Most people shun the marginalized, they'll veer wide on a side walk just to avoid them. Not many look, let alone talk to them. This the heart break of real poverty.
So, we all wait. But in this anxious moment of the pause button being hit, someone ask me a very profound questions, a disrupting kind of questioning. How far does one stand for justice? Would you be willing to keep going to the parking lot? What would happen if you just kept going?
We've heard of police arresting folks across the border for feeding the homeless. One wonders, could we be arrested if we just carried on feeding the homeless? How far would you stand for justice, for feeding the poor?
"I was on the street for 5 years and CARTS was the only thing I looked forward to every week. You honestly cared for us. You showed up without fail no matter what day it was or what the weather was. You made me feel like I was a worthwhile person. I love you guys and gals."
- Chris -
This is why we will continue to speak out, and to act out justly for the community of friends we have come to know over the past 12 years of pulling God's love through the inner city streets of Victoria.
As Allen Tysick said to me last evening, " Don't give up, keep doing what you're doing."
My " Hail Mary " pass to Jonathon de Vooght of Jordans Interiors and Floor Coverings, and to Coretta Peets of Victoria Cool Aid Society. Please pray, it is recieved in a spirit of peace, compassion and cooperation.
Dear Jonathon and Coretta,
As we are having a C.A.R.T.S. Board Meeeting this Wednesday to deal with our eviction from Queen's Manor parking lot, and a meeting with Mayor Lisa Helps on Friday. I wonder if I might throw a " Hail Mary " as a last act of hope.
This Is C.A.R.T.S 12th year of feeding and caring for the marginalized in the inner city. In twelve years we have built a relationship with this community. It has been nurtured and cultivated in trust. They know week after week we'll be there. It is this commitment that nurtured and deepend the realtionship we have withis community.Most Sundays we also have a couple Registered Nurses that volunteer with us. In the almost 12 years of operating we have not missed one Sunday due bad weather. We have one couple, 79 and 80 years old, that drive all the way down from Crofton every Sunday. Bringing fresh produce, baking, hard boiled eggs, apple sauce and more. These folks are like grandparents to some of the folks in the parking lot.
We've been in the parking lot before Queen's Manor moved in. We do try and clean up after each visit. Could we try and be more diligent in our effort to clean up? Yes, and we can delegate more people to do that, including the area by Jordans Interiors.
I guess it all feels like a knee-jerk reaction, considering the length of time we've been there and nothing was really conveyed to us. I would like to think before I see the Mayor, that I could at least say that we at least tried to make it work in some kind of cooperative effort.
I wonder, would you both considering giving this idea a try. How about, if we didn't set up in the parking lot until Jordan Interiors closes at 5:00pm on Sundays. Again we would ensure the area is clean upon leaving. And we could keep an eye on people congregating in the area. Tonight when we left, there were 3 people in the area; one person working on a bicycle, and 2 others at the front door of Queens Manor.
I have to believe that surely between the 3 of us we could work together to ensure that a relational connection, food and care is offered to a marginalized group of people for about " 1 Hour " or so on a Sunday afternoon.
Yours Sincerely Ron Cole
Well it was a sad evening up at Queens Manor as I shared the news about our eviction from the parking lot by Victoria Cool Aid Society effective September 27th. Like us, they don't understand how us being in the parking lot for an hour on a Sunday could cause such a knee jerk reaction. We understand the dynamics of having a very high end furniture store like Jordans Interiors and Floor Coverings in very close proximity to a marginalized community, Mustard Seed inner city church and food bank, Skid row rooming houses, Blanchard Court and over the Bay Street Bridge Rock Bay Landing.
Anyway, I've seen it work before. With minutes left in the game someone throws a " Hail Mary." I've launched a pass, an all out effort in hope. That it might be caught.
The hope is, that CARTS, Jordans Interiors and Victoria Cool Aid Society could work in cooperation so that the relational connection, the food and care of this marginalized community would continue in its current location.
In the photo is Ken who has been apart of the CARTS community for years. Ken remembers our eviction from the Capitol Six parking lot. Ken reminds us like many others, its more than the food. He hasn't a lot of friends, shunned by much of the public on the street. He comes to just talk, share his week, some of his life stories. We've hugged, we laughed. There have been times when Ken has bought stuff out his disability pension just so he could give out stuff to others in the line. And, as much as Ken needs us, Ken reveals to us our own poverty. Ken has taught us more about faith than most of us think faith is. His humility, his gentle spirit, his gratitude and vulnerability. He shows us real humanity.
If we're evicted, we refuse to abandon the relationships we've cultivated over the years. The Jesus who lives in the midst of poverty will guide us so that his will may be done.
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