Victoria’s Our Place serves delicious Easter lunch to those in need

CHEK

Our Place, a non-profit community centre on Pandora Avenue, is treating Victoria’s downtown community to a delicious Easter Lunch.

“The turkey, stuffing, desserts and everything, I feel like it’s more food than I expected,” said Leo, a community member.

Serving a high quality meal to those who can’t afford it is Our Place’s way of reminding people of happier times in their lives when they sat with their families and had an Easter meal.

“Coming out of what has been a very difficult winter for many of the people we serve, it’s also difficult in terms of the economy and cost of living, people really appreciate having a really nice meal here with their friends and family,” said Julian Daly, CEO of Our Place.

Dozens of volunteers including some of Greater Victoria’s community leaders took their places in the kitchen to not only serve, but also to come in solidarity with the members as well.

Daly said it’s “a powerful signal to let them know they’re not forgotten and that they’re there to serve them too.”

Among those who volunteered were Victoria Police Deputy Chief Jason Laidman, Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce CEO Bruce Williams, Victoria Deputy Fire Chief Steve Serbic, and Victoria Mayor Marianne Alto, to name a few.

“You just see the look on the people’s faces, they’re just so appreciative, not just today but of all the services that Our Place provides,” said Alto.

Starting with food services many years ago, Our Place now serves about half a million meals a year. While the free meals it offers daily are a huge help to many who are struggling with skyrocketing food prices, sharing meals like the Easter Lunch means so much more to those in need.

“One of the reasons they come is that they’re often feeling lonely and isolated and this provides an opportunity for them to connect,” added Daly.

Many of the people who access their food services are doing so for the first time, including a lot of older folks who are not necessarily homeless but are struggling financially.

According to the BC Seniors Advocate reportFalling Further Behind“, one in four seniors live on an annual income of less than $21,000, with nearly half living on less than $31,000, which is less than minimum wage.

This directly impacts their ability to meet basic needs, with 84 per cent of surveyed seniors reporting that they frequently run out of money for food.

With the free meals they serve, Our Place does its part to help them supplement their grocery budget and overcome feelings of isolation, which is especially critical for older people.

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People enjoy an Easter meal at Our Place. (CHEK News)

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