The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted everyone in more ways than anyone could have ever imagined. At Mission Possible, one of the first obvious changes was to our Power Breakfast program.
Before there were daily press briefings and Dr. Bonnie Henry became a household name in British Columbia, Mission Possible served 100 Downtown Eastside community members a nutritious hot breakfast every Saturday, followed by a Coffee House where coffee and treats were served in a laid-back environment that encouraged community building. As soon as physical distancing was recommended, the Mission Possible staff responsible for organizing Power Breakfast realized that there would be no way to continue a sit-down meal service, and quickly switched gears in order to accommodate a take-out style instead. With the closures of many service providers in the Downtown Eastside, the need for a warm healthy meal skyrocketed, with up to 300 people seeking out Power Breakfast each week by late spring.
One of the many bumps in the road in order to meet this demand was sourcing the volunteers needed to cook and serve this many people. Because many people who live in the Downtown Eastside face complicated health issues and many are immunocompromised, Power Breakfast organizers knew that it would be problematic to bring lots of new people from outside the Downtown Eastside into the community on a regular basis.
Thankfully, two churches in Vancouver, Trinity Baptist and 19Twenty, stepped up and offered to volunteer consistently, bringing much needed stability to this meal program. Volunteers James and Nancy from Trinity Baptist 19Twenty respectively, spoke to Mission Possible about their involvement with Mission Possible’s Power Breakfast program.
They both commented on the fact that when the pandemic hit, everything changed and they could no longer participate in the many activities that they had planned through their church communities. Rather than retreat and isolate though, they say that they chose to use their energy and resources to help those severely affected by the pandemic. James shared “The pandemic was an opportunity to re-evaluate what my priorities and motivations are when I do want to serve God. Is it about me or others? So I guess I’d say that this pandemic has forced me to grow up in some important ways!”
Their motivation to help week after week comes from them emphasizing the value of all life, and they felt called to prioritize the needs of the community, especially during hard times. Nancy summed it up best by saying, “I believe that every life matters and I take pride and joy in preparing the most delicious high quality food I can so that people can have the enjoyment of a really tasty satisfying meal, especially at a time when life is so precarious.” James also added, “The pandemic should not keep us from helping others, or putting the needs of others before our own. If we truly want to make the world a better place - it starts with loving our neighbour, and that neighbour is everyone.”
The coming together of communities, between countless volunteer hours and much-needed in-kind donations, not only provided tangible support to those in need of a reliable meal, but warmed hearts of all involved by reminding us of the resilience and compassion that drives Mission Possible forward through thick and thin.
The Power Breakfast program is possible because of our amazing volunteers, like James and Nancy, and various donors who provide the food, containers, and funds necessary. You can support Power Breakfast by donating, signing up to volunteer, or emailing [email protected] to learn more. Thank you!