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  • Writer's pictureLiz Duerholt

Community Matters

Nikita and Blake setting up the Grocery Cafe with Donna at Bow Centre.

For the last few months, the Redefin'd Krew has been hosting an informal gathering at the Bow Centre Seniors Housing Society complex located in Bowness. Every second week we gather donated food items and set up a mini free grocery store, now called the Grocery Cafe. It has become a place for inter-generational gathering, a place to shop, to get a hug, and to share coffee and great conversation.

In a few short weeks, the impact has been incredible. Seniors are coming out of their places to socialize, residents have noticed that people are coming several hours early to take part in the gathering at the cafe. Fresh produce flies off the shelves, and people are sharing recipes and food.

Our Krew is excited about expanding this idea because they're getting a sense the value it's adding to the community. Fortunately for us, a funding opportunity through the Field Law Community Fund Program came to our attention, and we now have a chance to take our cafe to the next level. We hope to make it a permanent fixture in the Bowness community. We want to expand our offerings at the cafe to include low cost, nutritious meals prepared by our Krew in addition to the other free grocery offerings. If you're interested in learning more about Field Law, or in supporting our Community Cafe idea, you can vote for us until June 17th here.

Last week we decided to organize a circle of people from Redefin'd and Bow Centre to come together and share their experiences of the Cafe so far. We baked a plum cake and put on the coffee!

A gathering of Redefin'd and residents from Bow Centre

We introduced ourselves and then opened the floor for feedback. Stan shared that he appreciates the program, "Lot's of the time there are things I've needed and I don't have the money to buy, and it just happens that you have it here. I enjoy all the products; I hope that we continue on." Margarete also benefits from the program, and adds, "I know people really appreciate it because they don't all have the ability to get out and get groceries."

Mobility is an issue for many people living at Bow Centre, and so is cooking for one. Many people struggle to find the motivation to prepare meals for a single person. Millie loves it when we portion fresh produce into manageable sizes, "Once you had cauliflower all cut up. Putting things in portions is the best thing you ever did. Cauliflower is very expensive, but besides that, we don't need to buy a whole head."

Even Donna, the building manager has noticed the level of engagement, "A few weeks ago we had zucchini at the Cafe, and I am thinking no one is going to take a zucchini. Well, I found out about 40 different zucchini recipes in less than an hour. Everyone had a different way to prepare it."

Food is a great way to bring people together, and we don't miss the opportunity to use this Cafe as a social hub. Blake talks about the benefit for our young Krew, "This is something we like doing, we find it meaningful. It's helpful to the people here, and we enjoy interacting with you. The whole community feeling of it, and everybody engaging and sharing stories, it is a huge part."

Many residents like having young people come into their space. Don shares his experience of having young people walk right by when he's outside the building, like he's not even there, "It's nice when some people come in and talk." He goes on to tell the Krew, "You are going to be the leaders of the community, you are taking steps to go that way, and I want you to know that what you are doing is good. The doors will open when you show compassion."

Liz Duerholt

Founder and Executive Director


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