We’re Hiring! Community Program Worker (Cooking)

Do you enjoy cooking? Are you eager to make an impact in your community? Are you looking to join a team of fun, dedicated, and passionate people? If your answer is yes, Gordon Neighbourhood House is looking for you!

POSTED: April 1st, 2021
START DATE: As soon as possible
DEADLINE: Until position filled

OPPORTUNITIES AVAILABLE:
Two                              
1 Permanent part-time position (21 hours per week)
1 Temporary part-time position (14 hours per week until fall 2021)

COMPENSATION
Permanent part-time: $17.12/hour + benefits;
Temporary part-time: $17.12/hour + 4% in lieu of benefits.

SUMMARY OF POSITION
Shortly after the COVID-19 pandemic was declared a public health emergency, Gordon Neighbourhood House (GNH) in collaboration with our partners started an emergency frozen meal delivery program.

This program is one of several initiatives GNH has launched to improve food access in the community during the pandemic, and seek permanent solutions to the persistent and systemic causes of food insecurity in our neighbourhood.

Every week, we prepare and freeze 250 made-from-scratch meals, which are then delivered directly to participants via Shift bicycle couriers. Since the program started, our food team has prepared over 9,000 delicious and nutrient-rich meals that feature diverse menu options, while accommodating participant dietary restrictions.

We are looking for two part-time team members who will be responsible for preparing, cooking, and portioning 250-300 meals every week. This is a hands-on kitchen role. Examples of meals could include: vegetarian curries, spaghetti, stews, macaroni & cheese, stir fries, peanut stews, casseroles, chili, tofu bowls, etc.

KEY DUTIES
– Prepare food for emergency frozen meal delivery program

PRIMARY RESPONSIBILITIES
–  Follow FoodSafe health and safety procedures at all times
–  Cook meals using recipes from our monthly menu
–  Prepare ingredients and cook delicious and healthy food
–  Heat and cool meals to required temperatures
–  Portion and plate meals
–  Clean and sanitize kitchen, equipment, and utensils
–  Ensure meals are prepared on time and within our budget

TASKS
–  Maintain kitchen tidiness and ensure supplies and equipment are clean and organized
–  Set-up, clean, and sanitize work stations
–  Clean, wash, and sanitize equipment, dishes, and utensils
–  Complete program-related records and documentation
–  Estimate expected ingredient requirements and coordinate preparation
–  Prepare ingredients for cooking: washing, peeling, chopping, seasoning, etc.
–  Safely operate oven, grill, dishwasher, appliances, hand tools, and utensils
–  Ensure prepared food reaches required heating and cooling temperatures
–  Portion meals into individual containers


SKILLS AND QUALIFICATIONS

–  Food Safe Certificate
–  One year related experience or an equivalent combination of education and training
–  Ability to multi-task, prioritize duties, and manage time efficiently
–  Ability to work in a team environment or independently
–  Self-motivated and directed
–  Physical endurance to stand and move during the length of the entire shift
–  Ability to stand, sit, kneel, bend, move, complete repetitive motions, and lift up to 25 pounds

LOCATION: Gordon Neighbourhood House (1019 Broughton Street, Vancouver)
Gordon Neighbourhood House is open to staff Monday to Friday between 9:00am-5:00pm during the pandemic. Shifts will take place during regular operating hours. The hours of this position are dependent on funding and may increase if additional funding is secured, or if new programs are introduced.

­­­­­­­­­­­­­TO APPLY
Please e-mail your resume, and a brief description detailing why you would be a great fit for this position to welcome@gordonhouse.org with ‘Community Program Worker’ in the subject line (no phone calls please).

This is an internal and external posting. We thank all interested applicants; however only short-listed candidates will be contacted.

Gordon Neighbourhood House is a proud member of the Association of Neighbourhood Houses of BC (ANHBC), which is an equal opportunity employer. We place a high value on diversity and encourage qualified individuals from all backgrounds and identities to consider applying for the position. Our total compensation and benefits package reflects our commitment to our staff and their family. For more information about Gordon Neighbourhood House, visit www.gordonhouse.org.


Nowruz Community Celebration

Haft-sin on display at Gordon House

Nowruz mobārak!

Nowruz is celebrated as the new year by many nations and cultures in Central Asia and the Middle East and worldwide by the diasporas. Nowruz comes from the literal Farsi translation for “New Day”and it occurs each year at a time that coincides with the Spring Equinox. The exact time and date changes based on astrological calculations that ensure the new year begins at the exact moment when the sun crosses over the equator and day and night are of equal length. Usually this will occur between 19th-21st March. This year in Vancouver’s time zone Nowruz occurred at 2:37:28am on last Saturday 20th March 2021.

Nowruz celebrates the rebirth that occurs during the Spring season and the link between humans and nature. This holiday has occurred for thousands of years and has many traditions and symbols. Celebrations centre on visiting with family, spending time outdoors, and eating traditional foods.

One of the traditions associated with this holidays is the creation of a Haft-sin which is an offering table filled symbolic objects. Each object has a special meaning and story behind it. You can read more about this beautiful tradition here. The 13th day of Nowruz is known as Sizdah Bedar which translates to ‘Thirteen Outside’ and is meant to be spent outside enjoying nature. On this day many people take the wheatgrass from their haft-sin and release down a river.

We were lucky to have community members come and assemble a haft-sin for the West End community at Gordon House. We have placed the table by our front window and it has display tags to name each item. Come by and check it out!

volunteer assembling haft-sin

This week our Young Ideas group teamed up with some members of our community to host a special virtual Nowruz community celebration. Participants received a free gift bag that had goodies such as Turkish Delight and Persian tea, plus a traditional recipe and some speciality ingredients to prepare the dish.

During the virtual celebration a community volunteer led a cooking demonstration on preparing this tasty vegetarian dish – Halim Badenjan with red lentil. All the ingredients can be purchased at a Persian grocer such as Aria in the West End.

Check out this recipe for those interested in learning to make their own Kashk.

volunteer led cooking demonstration

In between the demonstration while we waited for things to cook, volunteers shared more Iranian holiday celebrations and information about Nowruz. One special tradition involves using poetry for the purposes of divination. Participants took turns asking their burning questions for the year ahead and then using the poetry from Hafiz and Rumi for insight.

the finished product!
dish prepared by a participant

Our seniors meal program participants also shared in the festivities as we served up a ‘Nowruz Celebration Bowl’ made with golden rice, lots of saffron and spices; chicken breast stewed in a fragrant sauces made of pomegranate molasses, walnuts, dates, onions and spices, and a side to chicken is a slow oven roasted stew made of fresh tomatoes and eggplants in a mix of orange juice and peels, plus other spices.

For those interested in learning more about Iranic cultures check out this Google Document.


Saint Patrick’s Day

Lá fhéile Pádraig sona dhuit! Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

Saint Patrick’s Day is an Irish holiday celebrated on the 17th of March each year. In Ireland this date is a national holiday – schools and workplaces are closed and parades of all sizes are held in every city and small town.

HISTORY

Historically Ireland was a very religious Catholic country. Saint Patrick is Ireland’s patron saint because he was responsible for bringing Christianity to the island. He is also credited with introducing the shamrock as an important Irish symbol by associating it with the Holy Trinity, and he is said to have preformed a number of miracles such as banishing all of Ireland’s snakes into the sea!

Over the years Ireland experienced a mass immigration of millions of people due to poverty and famine. This has created a large Irish diaspora and resulted in worldwide Saint Patrick’s Day is celebrations. Today it is more commonly known as ‘Paddy’s Day’ and many Irish people and those with Irish ancestry celebrate their Irish heritage by wearing green and having more than a few drinks!

CELEBRATION SUGGESTIONS

In the Irish language whiskey is called ‘uisce beatha’ which translates to – ‘water of life’. Check out this recipe for hot whiskey that uses just lemon, cloves, whiskey, hot water, and optional brown sugar. Best enjoyed in moderation!

The Irish language is called Gaeilge and you can learn some for free via Duolingo.

For anyone who missed out on the sourdough craze last year our Irish Soda Bread Recipe might be appealing as it is a much more simply made type of bread.

Ireland has a vibrant music scene, and there are many Spotify playlists where you can listen to both modern and traditional Irish music depending on your music tastes: Breath of Fresh Eire, New Eire, Alternative Eire, Irish Folk Ballads, Irish Folk, 50 Irish Folks Songs, Traditional Irish Music, Irish Pub Songs, and many more!

Ireland has many myths, legends, and old fairy tales that would be best described as ghost stories. Irish poet and Nobel Prize winner W.B. Yeats catalogued these stories in his book ‘Irish Fairy and Folk Tales’ which is available at Vancouver Public Library.

Ireland’s national broadcaster RTÉ has a website which houses the countries largest collection of audiovisual archival materials. Check it out if you are interested in seeing some old fashioned Saint Patrick’s Day celebrations.


Clean Team Is Hiring!

At Gordon Neighbourhood House, we feel fortunate to work and play in such a beautiful area. To honour the sense of pride we have in the neighbourhood, we teamed up with the West End Business Improvement Association to create the Clean Team Program.

The Clean Team is funded by the West End Business Improvement Association and has been running for five years with the intention of keeping our community litter-free. The program runs Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 9 am – 1 pm. Our team performs general commercial sidewalk and street cleaning, 3-11 illegal dumping reports, graffiti removal, power washing, leaf removal, along with poster and sticker removal on Denman, Davie, and Robson streets. The Clean Team also works with schools, businesses, and organizations interested in community cleanups by organizing events where we map out a cleanup route around the neighbourhood.

We are currently looking for an individual passionate about the community and litter prevention to join The Clean Team. If this sounds like the right fit for you, please email aileen@gordonhouse.org

Job Description Here!


Gordon Groaners—Jokes so Bad They’re Good

COVID-19 is no laughing matter. We get that. While the coronavirus is certainly worrisome for everyone, some groups have suffered more than others.

The West End has long been known for its resilience and character, this has helped bring a light to all of us struggling through a hard winter.

We have selected a few jokes, riddles, and trivia (with prizes) to provide some humor during these challenging times. We encourage you to use this and other forms of self-care to boost your spirits. There is light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel, and we can’t wait to rejoice with you! 

Why couldn’t the bicycle stand up by itself?
It was two tired.  

What did the fish say when it hit a wall?
Dam! 

What do you get from a pampered cow?
Spoiled milk.  

Is the pool safe for diving?
It deep ends. 

TRIVIA: Who started the annual Polar Bear Swim on January 1st, 1920 with just 10 people?
Hint: A West End lane is named after this individual.

We have lots of great prizes for our trivia question. Email your answer to welcome@gordonhouse.org to be entered into the draw.

In addition to self-care, did you know Gordon Neighbourhood House offers free counselling in multiple languages! Our counselling program is appropriate for individuals, couples or groups navigating grief, loss, anxiety, depression, transition and more. All counselling is supported with regular clinical supervision. For more information, please email counselling@gordonhouse.org 


MAZON Canada Supports COVID-19 Emergency Food Relief Program

Gordon Neighbourhood House staff prepare dozens of emergency grocery hampers every week in the basement of St. Paul’s Anglican Church.

Thanks to generous funding from MAZON Canada (The Jewish response to hunger), Gordon Neighbourhood House has been able to provide much-needed emergency food relief during the pandemic.

When COVID-19 first emerged, it quickly became apparent that food security would become a top priority for the West End neighbourhood of Vancouver.

Rent in the district is higher than average, and household incomes and size are much lower than other areas. When combined (eg. a single senior on a fixed income with rising housing costs), it can become difficult for many residents to afford healthy and sufficient food.

GNH received a $5,000 grant from MAZON Canada to support a contact-free grocery delivery program. Every week, dozens of West End households safely receive a hamper packed with fresh produce, fruit, and pantry staples.

This program in one of several initiatives GNH has launched to improve food access in the community. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the organization has: distributed $65,000 in grocery store gift cards; prepared and shipped 8,000 frozen meals; hosted virtual food workshops; and delivered over 500 grocery hampers.

“[The food hampers] are such a delight to open,” stated one recipient, “the produce is so fresh and wonderful, and I just wanted you and your team to know that each week I’m incredibly grateful.”

These programs wouldn’t be possible without the collaboration of dedicated partners, and commitment from generous donors.

When the idea for the program first germinated, GNH had experienced food programmers, but lacked the space needed to safely operate a physically-distanced hamper program. At the same time, nearby St. Paul’s Anglican Church on Jervis Street had an underutilized hall, but didn’t have the staff capacity to stock and deliver hundreds of hampers.

“On our own we don’t have the resources to do the things we want to, but when we pool our resources, we find that wonderful things are achieved” states Revd Philip Cochrane, the Rector at St. Paul’s Anglican Church. “We also build connection and collaboration for the future.”

The grocery hamper initiative was made possible thanks to: St. Paul’s Anglican Church, The Food Stash Foundation, Food Runners, volunteers, and our transportation provider Shift Delivery. In addition to MAZON Canada, the grocery hamper initiative also received financial support from the United Way Local Love Food Hub initiative.

GNH would like to thank the Jewish community of Canada, through MAZON Canada, help fund valuable food security initiatives in our community.

The impacts of food insecurity go beyond simply just a lack of food, it makes people sick, makes it harder to get stable work, and makes it difficult to fully participate in society. Research has repeatedly recognized a link between poverty, food insecurity, and reduced health outcomes. A lack of access to nutritious food negatively affects physical and mental health, can take a toll on relationships, and affects our entire community.

Gordon Neighbourhood House has adopted a food philosophy to guide emergency food programs and seek permanent solutions to the persistent and systemic causes of food security in our neighbourhood.

“Food is an absolute human right,” Remarked GNH Food Programmer Stephanie Woo, “but it becomes difficult to stabilize and prioritize the quality and quantity when there’s rent, bills, restricted time, and now COVID impacting their lives every day.”

Greater Vancouver has the third largest Jewish community in Canada, and about 6.7% of the country’s overall Jewish population. In the 2011 census, the West End had the highest density of Jewish elders in the entire city. Almost a quarter (24.3%) of Jewish people living in the West End are seniors, comprising 575 individuals. Last December, GNH convened Jewish neighbours for a Hanukkah celebration that was held virtually due to public gathering restrictions as a result of the pandemic.

For more information about Gordon Neighbourhood House’s emergency food relief programs during COVID-19, please call (604) 683-2554 or email welcome@gordonhouse.org.


Black History in the West End – The Joe Fortes Story


Pictured: Joe Fortes at English Bay

In honour of Black History Month, we wanted to share the story of Joe Fortes, a well-loved Black Canadian who was an integral part of the West End community and was even named,”Vancouver Citizen of the Century” by Vancouver Historical Society in 1986.

“West End Best End” mural by CARSON TING & ANNIE CHEN celebrating both Joe Fortes and the local ecosystem. Located at 990 Nicola Street – in partnership with Vancouver Pride Society & Van Mural Fest.

Joe Fortes was born on February 9, 1863, in Port of Spain, Trinidad. He left the familiarity of his island nation for an opportunity in Liverpool, “The New York of Europe,” to work at sea. His labor on the water eventually led him to Vancouver, or as it was called at the time, “Granville.” After being thrashed by unrelenting storms and beaten by violent waves, Robert Kerr, the vessel Joe worked aboard, succumbed to its fate in Vancouver’s Harbour; this is where Joe would put down his roots. 

Joe started working as a shoeblack at the Sunnyvale Hotel, which is where his legacy of heroics would begin. During the Great Vancouver Fire, Joe braved the flames, saving a member of parliament’s wife and eight-year-old child from the raging inferno and rowing them to safety. This act of valiancy would be the first of many. 

Joe was a man of many trades and worked several odd jobs, one of which was transporting equipment from Gastown to Jericho Beach. He finished his tasks early on a particular journey and had ample time to explore the surrounding coastline. His curious nature led him to the beautiful white sand beach named “Euyelshun” by the Squamish Peoples, which translates to “Good Footing,” today we know this popular spot by the name of English Bay. Swimming beaches were few and far between along Vancouver’s rocky shoreline, so he brought the good news to friends, and the spot gained popularity among locals. 

Every summer throughout the 1890’s Joe would take it upon himself to mind the beach, ensure the beachgoers’ safety, and even gave swimming lessons to both children and adults alike. Joe wasn’t in it for the recognition; although he was becoming quite the household name, he was doing it free of cost out of the goodness of his heart and for his love of children. His good deeds didn’t go unnoticed, and by 1900 a petition containing thousands of signatures was presented to the city council demanding that Joe be given an official title and salary. The motion was approved. Joe was given a salary and officially designated as the Swimming Instructor, Lifeguard, and Special Constable of English Bay. 


Pictured: The memorial fountain located in Alexandra Park honouring Joe Fortes, “Little children loved him” is inscribed in the stone to remember all the children he saved and taught to swim. The fountain was sculpted by artist Charles Marega.

During his time at English Bay, he is credited for saving 29 lives and teaching three generations of Vancouverites how to swim. He was a loveable character with a warm heart that touched everyone lucky to know him. When Joe Fortes passed away from pneumonia on February 4, 1922, all of Vancouver mourned his loss. The city arranged a record-breaking funeral service that brought in tens of thousands of attendees. The massive outpour of support to commemorate Joe’s life spoke volumes about the positive impact that he left on the community. 

To this day, Joe’s legacy is not forgotten. From a mural and fountain tributing his warm-heartedness to having a steakhouse and library named in his honour, we will always remember his virtuous contributions to our community.  

Sources:

https://www.vancouverisawesome.com/courier-archive/news/archives-joe-fortes-dies-at-vancouver-general-hospital-2993159

https://onthisspot.ca/cities/vancouver/joefortes 

https://bcblackhistory.ca/seraphim-joseph-fortes/



Purim – Jewish Celebration

“Chag Purim Sameach!” (Happy Purim!)

Purim aka “Feast of Lots” is the Jewish celebration commemorating how the Jewish people were saved from persecution in the 5th Century BCE under rule of the Persian Empire. The story goes that the evil Prime Minister, Haman, convinced King Ahasuerus to execute all the Jewish people of Shushan. The hero of the story is Queen Esther, who saves the Jewish people by persuading the King to withdraw the decree and execute Haman instead. 

Purim is one of the most festive of all the Jewish holidays and is celebrated on the 14th day of the Hebrew month of Adar which happens to fall on February 25th this year. Purim traditions include: 

  • Carnivals with exciting events such as crafts, dancing and parades
  • “Misloach manot” the tradition of giving gifts of food and drink to family, friends, and those less fortunate
  • “Mattanot la-evyonim” the tradition of donating charity to the poor 
  • Dressing up and masquerading in costumes
  • “Purim spiel” comic dramatizations of the story of Purim
  • The “Megillah” or the scroll of Esther is read aloud, every time Haman’s name is mentioned the crowd stomps their feet, yells and heckles 

Sources:

https://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/5-purim-fun-jewish-holiday-article-1.2994705

https://toriavey.com/what-is-purim/

https://www.chabad.org/holidays/purim/article_cdo/aid/645995/jewish/The-Basic-Purim-Story.htm

https://www.britannica.com/topic/Purim


Food Hamper Program

The gap of food security and accessibility for the community has always existed, but is more apparent than ever now due to COVID-19. We started our food hamper at the end of November 2020, where our goal is to provide weekly emergency dignified food relief to those who are facing barriers to food security. As grocery stores are less accessible to vulnerable communities, the hampers are delivered directly to people’s homes through Shift Delivery, a local bike courier using trikes and electric cargo vehicles.

As per our Food Philosophy, we want to be able to share fresh, healthy food and increase food literacy with our community. The hampers consist of fresh fruits and vegetables, shelf stable items, such as dried beans, rice, oats, proteins such as eggs and canned salmon or tuna, and toiletries.

Recipes are shared in the hampers as the fresh produce varies weekly, with great intention we want our participants to increase food literacy by cooking in new ways or trying a new vegetable that they haven’t had before, while being culturally aware. We accommodate to dietary needs of the community including diabetic, low sodium, vegetarian/vegan diets.

So far, we have made and delivered almost 500 hampers! We would like to give a huge thanks to Saint Paul’s Anglican Church for providing us the space to safely sort out our hampers. We would also like to thank our funders, the United Way of the Lower Mainland and Mazon Canada for making this program possible to implement and carry forward.


Black History Month – Poster Art Campaign

Poster created by Sade Alexis

In 2019 Vancouver city council voted to name eight West End laneways after local historical figures. One of the people who had a laneway named after them was Rosemary Brown – a prominent Black female community champion who filled many important roles throughout her life including politician, activist, writer, feminist, educator, and mother. The Young Ideas group decided to take time during this year’s Black History Month to honour Rosemary’s legacy by partnering with a local artist on a neighbourhood postering campaign. 

The artist that the group worked with is Sade Alexis, a talented local Black artist and Emily Carr graduate who the Young Ideas group came to know through her beautiful portrait series – “Speaking To My Ancestors”. 

Sade has a wonderful back catalogue of portraiture work that you can view on her Instagram @sade.b.alexis, as well as a solo exhibition “Safe Home Sarah” currently on view at the Cheeky Proletariat (located at 320 Carrall Street) with Black Arts Vancouver. 

There can be a huge impact and power in using visual art to share and honour Black history. Sade expresses that her art is her activism, and the best way that she knows how to understand a person’s life and work. Black people living in Vancouver don’t always get to see a lot of Black faces around them, and through portraiture work Sade aims to make this experience less lonely. Some of the power of Sade’s portraiture work comes from its accessibility, as almost anyone can interact with her work and garner something from it.

Sade explains that while growing up she had believed the commonly heard myth of ‘there are no Black people in Vancouver’. Discovering the work of Rosemary Brown had been a comforting experience because it evidenced the existence of Vancouver’s Black community being heard, a community that has been here for many years and continues to be here today.

Sade considers Rosemary as somebody who paved the way for her to do what she does today, someone who made things possible for Vancouver’s Black community. Sade also shared a personal connection to Rosemary through her father, who years ago used to run in the same circles as her.

Of course Rosemary Brown is not the only Black person in Vancouver who did important work, and learning about Rosemary can be a good starting point for learning more of the Black history of Vancouver. 

One last reflection from the artist of this piece was to remind viewers not to simply limit your engagement to Black History Month – support Black artists, support Black businesses, and learn Black history year round.

Sade will have some more cool projects coming up in the future, so be sure and follow her on Instagram to stay in the loop!

If you would like to get involved with this community postering campaign and display one of these posters in a public place in your apartment building then please contact aileen@gordonhouse.org

If you see these posters up around the neighbourhood you can help to spread the word by snapping a picture and tagging us and the artist on social media.

We also distributed the artwork straight to program participants homes; through our seniors meal delivery program and our food hamper delivery program.

Read more about Black history in the West End on our other blog post – the Joe Fortes story.

Last summer we posted some Anti-Racism Resources that included information on where you can learn, spend, and donate. Earlier this month we also posted some information on the origins of Black History Month in Canada.

Check out the website of Black Lives Matter Vancouver.