The All Nations Outreach Society has been operating a weekly lunch program since 2019. This volunteer-driven program has experienced significant growth beginning with 12 lunches and now serves 300-450 lunches per week, with 12 plus volunteers to residents in the Downtown Eastside near the intersection of Main and Hastings. The lunch program goals are to create opportunities to engage with potential new clients, maintain engagement with existing clients, fulfill a critical physical need among a vulnerable population and promote the All Nations Outreach Society and its services within the community. The All Nations Outreach Society creates a culturally safe and significant environment by implementing a lunch program that symbolizes the broad cultural practice of sharing food among many Nations.
Another core service of the All Nations Outreach Society is connecting and reconnecting Indigenous individuals to their home communities in a safe and supportive manner. The DTES’s physical, socioeconomic and cultural environment is a significant driver of the challenges associated with housing, substance use and mental health faced by the All Nations Outreach Society clients. Assisting clients in returning to their home community can significantly improve the health and well-being of these individuals. The All Nations Outreach Society also recognizes the challenges that clients can face in returning to their home communities, which is why they have made efforts to partner with Indigenous communities and the Homeward Bound initiative of the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction address and reduce these challenges.
Culturally Relevant Ceremonies
The All Nations Outreach Society has recently partnered with BC Housing to provide Indigenous people who have experienced homelessness and have been brought into shelters with opportunities to participate in culturally relevant ceremonies and on-the-water healing activities as well as providing them peer support services. The All Nations Outreach Society contribute to BC Housing’s efforts to support individuals on the housing continuum by:
- creating opportunities for ongoing engagement;
- alleviating some underlying material socioeconomic pressures homeless individuals experience;
- providing homeless individuals with food and other supplies safely and predictably;
- creating a more culturally safe environment for Indigenous peoples from various Nations; and
- providing the necessary conditions for ANOS and partners to direct Indigenous individuals to culturally appropriate support services.
Additionally, the All Nations Outreach Society collaborates on an ongoing bi-weekly and monthly basis with:
- Vancouver Coastal Health
- Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction
- First Nations Health Authority
“We hope that people receive and feel the love that has gone into this and we hope it kickstarts their healing journey.”