About a few years ago I was involved in Victoria's Homeless Awareness Week wich usually happens every November. I was organizing a table down in the Bay Center building for the Mustard Seed Church and Food Bank. There were many other social non-profit agencies occupying the lower floor of the Bay Center; Our Place, Cool Aid, Salvation Army, Youth Empowerment Society, Street Link and many more. It was a chance for all of us to engage the Greater Victoria public, to let them know what we were about and to answer their questions. But what I discovered through out the week was that, " WE ", all these different non-profit social justice agencies were sort of aware of each other...but, we really don't know a lot about each other. I'm not saying we don't care, or that we somehow create our own little empires. It's that some times we can just get consumed with " mine " and miss what's going around " Us ".
Rather than have the reality of social justice in Victoria be a piece seamless fabric, it can be sometimes more patch work...a little ragged...or occasionally a hole in it. The idea of seamless means we communicate more, network more with one another...get together and talk about what's happening at street level. That way we are duplicating services, stepping on someone elses toes...and we can share resources. And, maybe we need find the space to pray more together be bring into concsiousness that the same Spirit fuels, and guides all " WE " do. This will make us mindful that social justice should be a seamless fabric...in which we cradle and support all the marginalized in Victoria. No one falls through the "holes".
There is a group that makes up part of the fabric of social justice in Victoria that needs our prayers and support, and that is...The Rainbow Kitchen. Situated on the border of Victoria, and Esquimalt is Vic West, it is here on the corner of Henry and Catherine Street that the Rainbow Kitchen serves the marginalized community of Victoria. ( You can read their history...here ) They have been serving the poor, the addicts, the homeless, the working poor, seniors and handicapped since 2001.
The Anglican Diocese of British Columbia acouple of years ago started to down size, re-structuring the parish model of doing church in Victoria. The outcome was closing churches...and placing them on the real estate market. St. Saviours the home of the Rainbow kitchen was one such church with a " for sale " sign on it. This reality has been hanging around the neck of the Rainbow Kitchen for awhile. Like a dark cloud, it does cast a shadow which has been hard to avoid. Now in the midst of the clouds there is thunder rumbling through the Rainbow Kitchen that it has been sold. There are still somethings that need to fall into place...but, the reality...the Rainbow Kitchen's future is fragile at best. " We " all need to be praying for the future of the Rainbow Kitchen. If lost, its ministry will have a huge impact in the marginalized community of Victoria.
It is not just the loss of a meal, which is huge when it may be your only meal of the day. But, think about this reality...since 2001, five days a week, even on holidays...lunch has been served. There is something profound when people gather around a table and eat a meal. It is the " miracle " of community. It's where conversations are kindled, walls come down, borders are crossed...community happens. There are some people who have eaten together here for 10 years. People with in the community have passed away...there loss is very tangible. And in the midst of it, yes...God does show up.
So please pray for the future of the Rainbow kitchen...with out the Rainbow Kitchen there will be a huge hole within the fabric of social justice in Victoria.
We are slowly re-booting the website that has been dormant for a while. One thing we want to bring to the forefront of the " WEBSITE " is the blog. We hope this will be a space of engagement, of conversation...where we can share CARTS stories. Where we can let you know what's happening on the streets of Victoria's inner city. We hope to talk about compassion, hospitality, grace...and a whole lotta Love. So again please join us in conversation, and practice...as we continue the mysteriously, beautiful journey of Love.
We are a local Victoria, BC charity dedicated to fulfilling our mission: