Creating Calm

by Grace

Worry serves a useful purpose—it warns us of danger and it motivates us to find solutions. Worrying, however, that goes on for longer periods of time without cease, can lead to anxiety and a host of health problems. This 12-minute webinar Creating Calm: Simple Activities for Stressful Times” offers 5 practical activities for anyone looking to reduce worry and create calm for themselves, and also for those that they are supporting. This webinar comes with downloadable handouts that can be laminated and cleaned for safe reuse so they can be freely shared with others. It lasts for 12 minutes, and can be found here.

This webinar was created by Kristine Theurer, PhD who volunteers with Grace who is a senior support worker at Gordon House and the Jewish Seniors Alliance.

Dr. Kristine Theurer is a researcher who pioneered the use of standardized peer support and peer mentoring programs to address loneliness and social isolation in senior living. She is a published author of a number of research articles, the most recent of which Reducing Loneliness and Depression: The Power of Peer Mentoring in Long-Term Care in JAMDA and The Need for a Social Revolution in Residential Care, the most downloaded article in the Journal of Aging Studies. Dr. Theurer leads training workshops for staff working in health care in Canada and the US and presents regularly at international conferences. She has received numerous research awards including grants from the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. She serves on the planning committee for the national conference on culture change in Canada, hosted by the Schlegel-University of Waterloo Research Institute for Aging.


Naan Lavaash Recipe

by Nahid

Serves 8 pieces of Bread
Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup warm water
1 tsp salt
2 tsp dry yeast
1/4 cup vegetable oil

Instructions

  1. Combine half the water (1/4 cup), yeast, salt and oil into a medium bowl.
  2. Add 1 cup of flour and mix with spoon.
  3. Add the remaining 1 cup of flour and 1/4 cup of water.
  4. Use your hands to mix until it forms a ball of dough. Leave in a warm place covered for 1 hour.
  5. Form the dough into a log and cut it into 8 equal pieces.
  6. Roll each piece into a ball. Leave it to rest for 5 minutes.
  7. Flatten the dough using a rolling pin or empty glass bottle.
  8. Cook each piece on a hot dry pan on medium heat, about one minute per side (depending on temperature). Flip when you see pockets of air forming (see video).

Enjoy!


Asian Heritage Month

cherry blossoms at GNH

May in Canada is Asian Heritage Month. We are proud of the Asian heritage in our community and want to share some of the ways that we can all use this month to celebrate Asian culture and learn important history.

Firstly we would like to highlight the low number of coronavirus cases in the City of Richmond, and the fantastic work being done by the Chinatown community during this quarantine to take care of Chinese seniors with culturally appropriate groceries. A great article on stories and experiences of Chinatown seniors during this pandemic can be found here.

Vancouver Asian Heritage Month Society have created virtual explorASIAN 2020 to celebrate Asian culture online with podcasts, virtual museum tours, virtual art exhibitions, virtual concerts, virtual yoga/meditation, and much more. Check out their Facebook page.

Vancouver Public Library have created a list of recommended e-books and audio books.

The 360 Riot Walk Tour gives participants the opportunity to learn about the history of the 1907 Vancouver Anti-Asian riots by engaging in a guided virtual walking tour that you can access free online here.

Vancouver Asian Film Festival has launched Elimin8hate which is a campaign against the recent rise in racist attacks against Asian-Canadians.

Sounds Japanese Canadian to Me is a podcast by the Nikkei National Museum.

Many Japanese-Canadians have served in the Canadian military and in fact the Stanley Park Cenotaph turns 100 this year.

The beautiful Vancouver cherry blossoms originated as a gift from Japan in honor of the Japanese-Canadians who served in WW1. The Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival has all of the information on best spots for admiring these trees, both IRL and virtually, as well as running an International Haiku competition.

📷 : Jeff Chant

Statement regarding the closure of the West End Food Hub

For the past five years, Gordon Neighbourhood House has worked alongside the Greater Vancouver Food Bank (GVFB) to run the West End Food Hub. Delivered each Friday, our Hub was one of the largest neighbourhood-based emergency food programs in Greater Vancouver. We served over 500 people each week (in turn representing over 1500 people in our community), providing food access, hot meals, cooking education, produce markets, free counselling, clothing and household goods, family resource programming, referrals, advocacy and much more.

Greater Vancouver Food Bank recently announced that it would be closing all neighbourhood-based food distribution (including the West End Food Hub) and opening two locations at Queen Elizabeth Theatre and the Mount Pleasant Community Centre. More information about the new locations is available here: https://foodbank.bc.ca/find-food/locations/

Gordon Neighbourhood House does not agree with the decision to close the West End Food Hub. We had committed to continue providing the Food Hub during COVID-19 as local food access is more important now than ever before.

Our members have voiced considerable anxiety about their food security amid the combined impacts of a public health crisis, economic crisis and the closure of supportive programs like the Food Hub. We hear you, and we have been working around the clock to find safe, healthy and dignified options for emergency food support. If you are in a tough spot and need support, please email welcome@gordonhouse.org.

In the long-term, Gordon Neighbourhood House remains committed to ensuring dignified emergency food supports are available in the West End. If you are a local organization or businesses wanting to support us in providing emergency food access to the community, we need your help. Email welcome@gordonhouse.org to get involved.


Reading Resources

Did you know that before Gordon House moved into 1019 Broughton Street it was the original location of the West End public library?

We have continued with this tradition by providing a free community lending library in our lobby. Although we are currently closed to the public, there are many other free lending libraries in our neighbourhood: on Cardero (at Nelson near Cardero Bottega), in Mole Hill, and on Pacific (at Thurlow).

Vancouver Public Library provides free access to e-books, audio books, academic resources, and their Facebook group does a story time for children. If you don’t yet have a library card, you can sign up online.

Storybooks Canada and Indigenous Storybooks offer free educational resources to promote literacy and language learning.

The International Children’s Digital Library provides access to children’s books from cultures around the world, and Story Time Online has videos of celebrities reading children’s books. 

The World Health Organisation has released a storybook to help children and young people cope with COVID-19. This can be downloaded for free and is available in 6 languages currently, with another 30 languages coming soon.

For those looking to support local retailers Little Sisters Book and Art Emporium at 1238 Davie remains open for business Monday to Saturday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.


West End COVID Resource List

This blog post contains information on West End resources for seniors, homeless services, food access, public toilets, and community news & connections. Words highlighted in green are links that you can click on to access further information.

Seniors

The Better at Home Program helps seniors with day-to-day support from grocery shopping, friendly visits, and transportation to light housekeeping and minor home repairs.  For West End and Coal Harbour residents, the program is being facilitated through the West End Seniors Network, please contact their Community Services Coordinator at betterathome@wesn.ca or call (604) 669-5051.

BetterMeals is a seniors service which offers a wide variety of dishes to choose from that are healthy, delicious, and satisfy a wide variety of specific dietary needs. For more information visit their website or contact sam@bettermeals.ca (604) 299-1877. 

ElderDogCanada  provides assistance to seniors and their canine companions including support obtaining food, animal hygiene, minor grooming, and transportation to and from the vet. For more information contact Jacqueline Henley at elderdogvancouverldr@gmail.com

Emergency Resources

If you are an isolated person looking for assistance to get essential goods then please contact BC211. The website homepage also provides information on a variety of emergency resources.

There is a regularly updated emergency food & shelter resource map here and a print friendly version of emergency food & shelter resources here.

Coast Outreach Team can be reached at 604-669-2447. The Coast Resource Centre is closed but support and information is still available at   T 604-683-3787 or M 604-603-9151.

For emergency harm reduction supplies you can contact Spikes on Bikes West End: 8am – 2pm Monday to Saturday  / 604-317-1315 call for service. 

Food

Information on the location and operating hours of the Food Bank are available here.

The food handling guidelines by the BC Centre for Disease Control outlines food issues that may arise at both the grocery stores and at home. It can be found here.

Our friends at Christchurch Cathedral 960 Burrard St are reopening their Wednesday cafe to do takeout meals from 11:30am-12:30pm with physical distancing measures in place.

Vancouver Farmers Markets will be starting back this month, with the West End market due to begin May 23rd.

West End Public Access Toilets

Bute at Davie (NE corner of intersection) – Automated Public Toilet 24hrs

English Bay Beach Park 1700 Beach Avenue – (Bathhouse) Public Toilet in Park 10am-dusk

Bute at Davie (Mid Block Between Davie St and See-Em_la Lane) -Automated Public Toilet 24hrs

Nelson Park (West side of park) – Automated Public Toilet 24hrs

Sunset Beach Park 1204 Beach Avenue – Public Toilet in Park dawn to dusk

News & Connections

The West End Journal is a great source for news and information of special relevance to the West End such as stores and pharmacies opening hours and options for supporting local restaurants.

Keep connected with your friends and neighbours in the West End with these two popular Facebook Groups : Vancouver West Enders (nightly 7pm cheers & other news from the community) and Photographing in the West End (photos & videos from residents in the West End).

I Lost My Gig is a Facebook group providing support and networking opportunities to artists and other vulnerable freelance or gig workers whose jobs have been affected by current restrictions.


Vegetable Stock Recipe

by Joey

Cook Time: 1.5 hours

Traditionally, making vegetable stock at home involves using whole onions, carrots, celery and herbs that you buy and sift into the compost bin once their flavor has infused into the broth.

Here is a low-cost and low-waste alternative to making stock using vegetable scraps, peels and stalks. It requires little work, just some simmering time and freezer space:

1)Every time you cook, save your vegetable peels, stalks and tops in a container or bag (I use yogurt containers) and store it in the freezer. I save pretty much everything but pepper and squash seeds, and of course anything that’s spoiled.

2) Once your container is full, put your scraps into a large pot with enough water to just cover the scraps. Optionally, you can add a pinch of salt and 2 bay leaves.

3) Bring up to a boil. Then turn down to low-medium heat and simmer for ~1.5 hours. You can add a lid but keep it ajar.

4) Once done, strain and let cool. Vegetable stock stores really well in the freezer. Refrigerate for up to 7-10 days.

Nutritional info: Vegetable peels and stalks actually contain a lot of the vegetable’s nutrients. If you’re worried about pesticides on peels of conventional vegetables, consult this guide to find out which vegetables to leave out of your stockpile.

Meat eaters only: If you eat meat, save your bones! It will give your stock a wonderful flavor and a dose of minerals (phosphorus, magnesium, potassium), electrolytes and collagen that help with cell repair and function.


West African Peanut Stew Recipe

by Joey

Here’s a delicious meal that is vegan, gluten-free, low-cost, easy and flexible.

It’s a fan favourite in our Community Lunch program, and now you can make it at home!

This dish is a source of protein, fiber, iron, calcium, potassium, manganese, phosphorus, magnesium, selenium, B vitamins, Vitamins A, E, C, K, healthy fats and omega-3 fatty acids.

All you need to get started is peanut butter, canned tomato, and some veggies. At the end of this recipe you’ll find tips on how to adjust for ingredients you prefer or have on hand. Enjoy!

Makes: 6 servings

Prep time: 20 min

Cook time: 30 min

Ingredients:

· 1.5 L vegetable stock (if you would like to learn how to make your own low-cost & waste free vegetable stock we have a recipe here)

· 2 tbsp vegetable oil

· 1 onion

· 1 inch piece of ginger

· 3 garlic cloves

· 1 large yam

· 2 small-medium potato

· 1-400 ml canned tomato

· 1 can chickpea

· 1 bell pepper

· 3 leaves kale or 1/3 bunch spinach

Seasoning:

· ¾ cup peanut butter (no added sugar)

· 1/8 tsp chili powder

· 1/8 tsp cayenne

· 1 ½ tsp lemon juice

· Salt & pepper

Extremely optional toppings:

· Sprinkle of chopped peanuts

· Few sprigs of chopped herb (cilantro, parsley, or green onion)

Instructions:

1. Begin warming up 1.5 L vegetable stock or water on the stove or microwave in a small pot or microwave-safe container. Heat until it starts steaming / simmering.

2. Peel onion, garlic, yam. Cut onion, yam, potato and bell pepper into ~2 cm bite sized cubes. Finely chop the ginger and garlic. Roughly chop kale/spinach.

3. In a large soup pot, heat vegetable oil on medium heat. Sautee and stir onion for 5 minutes, until they are translucent.

4. Add garlic, ginger, yam and stir for another minute.

5. Add canned tomato with juices. Simmer on medium-low heat for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.

6. Drain and rinse can of chickpeas. Add chickpeas, chili powder and cayenne to the pot. Stir.

7. Grab a large metal bowl or container and scoop in one ladle of vegetable stock. If it’s really hot, let it cool for a couple minutes.

8. Add remaining vegetable stock to the soup pot. Cover pot and turn on high heat. When it bubbles, turn to medium heat and simmer for ~15 min, until yam/potato is fork tender.

9. Take your peanut butter and add ¾ cup to the 1 ladle of vegetable stock. Whisk together until smooth. Mixing the peanut butter with a little stock will be much easier than mixing everything in the large pot.

10. Once yam is almost fork tender, stir peanut butter mixture and bell pepper into soup pot and cook for 3-5 minutes.

11. Turn off heat and stir in spinach/kale and lemon juice.

12. Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve and top with herbs and chopped peanuts.

How to adjust this recipe:

· If you don’t have vegetable stock you can use water, but add some extra seasonings (bay leaves, more garlic & onion).

· You can replace any of the veggies (broccoli or green beans would be tasty)

· Replace the chickpeas with any kind of bean, lentil, split pea or grain

· I like using canned diced tomato, but you can use crushed, paste, sauce, whatever you have.

· Replace lemon juice with apple cider vinegar, lime juice or any light acid

· Add leftover rice or shredded chicken to make it heartier.

· The more peanut butter you use, the thicker your stew will be.


Volunteer Time Capsule Interviews

Its National Volunteer Week! We are lucky to have a volunteer team that is made up of so many intelligent, funny, and interesting people. This year we are not able to all be together to celebrate, but some of our volunteers have kindly agreed to taking part in a miniature time capsule of West End life in Spring 2020.

To all of our volunteers (past, present, future) Thank You!

Olivia – Chop n’ Chat

What is special about volunteering at Gordon Neighbourhood House? The thing that is special to me about Gordon House is the community hub that it provides to the neighbourhood. It offers a place where community members can connect and be supported either through attending programs or even volunteering which is really cool!

 What is your favourite West End memory? I have really special memories of visiting my grandma who lived in an apartment in the West End. We would go to the public library and then walk around Lost Lagoon.

What is your go to quarantine activity? My go to quarantine activity is for sure baking! I have been trying out a lot of new recipes and making an unnecessary amount of cookies.

Débora – Community Lunches

What is special about volunteering at Gordon Neighbourhood House? There are many ways to change the world. Volunteering is one of them. The big changes start from where we are: our microcosms, which means, our community. I’ve been learning a lot since I joined the Gordon House team, my first experience as a volunteer: friendship, solidarity, humility, empathy, and resilience. Every shift at Gordon House I feel I have earned much more than I gave.

What is your favourite West End memory? For me, the most representative sight in West End is its oasis called Stanley Park. I’m really passionate about getting lost into its trails and connecting to nature. It’s an opportunity to hear my inner voice. But what makes West End truly special, and what I consider to be its strengths, is its people. People from different countries, cultures, backgrounds, religions, and beliefs, for those whose mutual respect is an unnegotiable value, make this community a place where diversity is celebrated.

What is your go to quarantine activity? In this tough time of the pandemic, I’ve been cooking much more than ever. But, as a baker, I can’t deny that in my house the menu has more bread than anything else. Despite it being hard to find wheat flour at grocery stores, I got a big bag that will allow me baking for the next 30 days. So, I’ve been proofing rustic sourdough bread and brioches as a way to relieve stress and calm down my mind.

Shahram – Farsi Language Club

What is special about volunteering at Gordon Neighbourhood House?Living in West End, a well established and friendly neighbourhood, I appreciate the connection with the community, sharing and learning from each other in our spare time; volunteering at the GNH with its welcoming staff and atmosphere made this possible.

What is your favourite West End memory? There are many favourite memories; what I truly enjoy, is the natural beauty of nearby park and beach, as well as the vibrant, diverse community.

What is your go to quarantine activity? Adapting, adjusting and integrating my skills and experiences at this uncertain time. I have found time to catch up on everything I wanted to do but didn’t take time for earlier. Lots of good activities, making me feel alive and useful, especially at this time when we can’t be as social as our personality allows.

Bonnie – Attic Thrift Store

What is special about volunteering at Gordon Neighbourhood House? I enjoy being able to help the customers in the thrift store, sharing a joke, talking about what is happening in the neighbourhood. The Attic Thrift Store provides a wonderful space to share with your neighbours.

What is your favourite West End memory? August of 1997 I was staying with a friend who lived on Barkley and Denman it was hot out. I went for walk to find some shade under the tree’s and walked up Nelson St I passed the beautiful Fire Hall on Nichola St. and walked up Nelson to Broughton St.  I walked into the plaza in front of Gordon House. This was my introduction to Gordon House. I had volunteered with Kits House Hall in the early 80’s when I lived in Kits. I went in to discover the Attic Thrift Store. I bought a new to me summer outfit plus a pullover for $2.50 and this is one of my favourite memories of the West End.

What is your go to quarantine activity? Enjoying the spring flowering trees. checking out new recipes to cook. Giving my place a good spring cleaning 🌻☀

Geetanjali – Young Ideas

What is special about volunteering at Gordon Neighbourhood House? I am a new Immigrant to Canada, who has luckily stumbled upon the fantastic opportunity of meeting the enthusiastic members of the Young Ideas association. Through this lovely group I have got associated with the Gordon Neighbourhood House community and have been volunteering. Since I’m new to the country, it has been a great experience to have met people in the community and help organise events to bring the community together. I am very social by temperament and volunteering at Gordon Neighborhood House has given me the much-needed connection with the people of my new home.

What is your favourite West End memory? My most favourite memory of the West End has been to organize a small Holi event at the Jim Deva Plaza with the Young Ideas members. It was a great event that saw good participation. We had a lot of fun with colors, distributed Indian sweets and made new friends.

What is your go to quarantine activity? My go-to quarantine activity has been painting and teaching art classes online on zoom. The beach has been my solace. I love the company of the sea and the beautiful setting sun on the Sunset Beach and read and do my yoga practice there (all alone) every day.

David – Cozy Corners

What is special about volunteering at Gordon Neighbourhood House?   I enjoy being a volunteer at GNH because it enables me to give back to the community, meet our neighbours, and be part of something that has been established in the West End for many years. Plus, of course, the great staff who always make everybody feel welcome.

What is your favourite West End memory? I have to say I look forward to the fireworks every year. Sadly, this year it is unlikely to happen.

What is your go to quarantine activity? Currently I am taking an online course in Adobe Photoshop, something I have been wanting to do for a long time.

Devra – Community Lunches

What is special about volunteering at Gordon Neighbourhood House?The people at Gordon Neighbourhood House are so welcoming, warm and friendly. I enjoyed every minute of my volunteer experience and miss my Mondays and my new friends.  I also learned new recipes and prep and cooking tips from Joey which I use frequently.

What is your favourite West End memory? My favourite memory was simply everyone I met during this volunteer experience from Jessy at the front desk, to Joey and Aileen, as well as all the volunteers.  Such a wonderful group.

What is your go to quarantine activity? My go to quarantine activity is quilting.

Vlad – Gardening, Community Lunches, Front Desk

What is special about volunteering at Gordon Neighbourhood House?To help people and be with people (maybe I’m a social “animal”?)

What is your favourite West End memory? To receive the award:” Vancouver Lifetime Senior Volunteer of the Year”. Another great memory, on one Thursday Chef Peter was away and I cooked lunch for 30 people – first time in my life I did it and all guests survived!

What is your go to quarantine activity? After I get up (around 10:00 A.M. -where to rush to?) I do exercises that before took 15 min but now it takes me about 1.5 hour. Shower, breakfast and go (keeping the distance) for a walk (1 hour) – Vitamin “D”. Then back home to check and answer emails and, if I am lucky, watch movies on the computer.

 

Deirdre & Frank – Front Desk, Community Lunches, Food Hub

What is special about volunteering at Gordon Neighbourhood House?Both Frank and I like the friendly, inclusive atmosphere of Gordon Neighbourhood House and the special role it plays in the West End community. We are also proud supporters of its strong relationship with the Greater Vancouver Food Bank and appreciate the welcoming space it provides for Food Bank clients and volunteers each Friday. As Gordon House volunteers, Frank enjoys the camaraderie of Joey’s kitchen crew while I like meeting the great group of people who show up for lunch on Meatless Mondays, and working at the front desk with Jessy.

What is your favourite West End memory? When Frank and I think about the West End, the images that come to mind are tree-lined streets, glimpses of St. Paul’s Hospital, Barclay Manor with its lovely flower garden, Guardian Angels Church, the buzz of Denman Street, and of course Gordon House itself with all its charm and history.

What is your go to quarantine activity? When it comes to coping with the current stay-at-home order, we are both making the best of the situation whilst we wait for life to return to normal (whatever that may be!). I am back to making my vegetable curries, currant scones, and Irish soda bread while Frank continues to amaze with new additions to his brilliant repertoire of gourmet dishes. Both of us do battle with the New York Times crossword puzzle each day and communicate with family and friends via Skype, phone, email, and texts.  As for physical activity, I’d say we have never been fitter!  There isn’t one inch of the Stanley Park trail system that we have not explored and we have walked the Sea Wall so many times that we could probably do it blindfold. Meanwhile, Frank is growing hair he never knew he had and I am turning back into a Child of the Sixties – although much older… and greyer!

Hollis (no picture) – Attic Thrift Store

What is special about volunteering at Gordon Neighbourhood House?You get a lot of experience, meet interesting people who are friendly open and honest, and there is a lot of hard work to enjoy.

What is your favourite West End memory? People are so friendly in this end of town and always say hello, even with masks on people nod their head to you or wave to you when you pass them on the street to let you know they say hi.

What is your go to quarantine activity? Write in my journals, do crosswords, jigsaw puzzles, do chores to keep the place clean, keep in touch with friends and see how they are doing.

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Lee – Gardening

What is special about volunteering at Gordon Neighbourhood House? I was attracted to Gordon Neighbourhood House because of its commitment to nourish and build community through food. Volunteering in the Urban Farming Program has been a wonderful way to put that into practice. I appreciate how Joey creates a warm and welcoming environment and values everyone’s contribution. It’s great to connect with others in this shared purpose while having fun and learning from one another. Together we are feeding the community in more ways than one.

What is your favourite West End memory? Every day of the 20+ years I’ve lived in the West End is my favourite memory. I am surrounded by vibrant diversity and extraordinary beauty…each day (even the tough ones) creates its own memory of gratitude that I am a part of it.

What is your go to quarantine activity? I go to bed each night with big plans to accomplish much on my “at-home to-do list” the next day, but find myself struggling to motivate myself in the morning. I’ve found it best to set small goals of productivity for myself each day and be satisfied with those little accomplishments. One of my new rituals is to choose a different type of seed to plant each day that I will later transplant to my balcony garden or share with others, including the GNH urban farms…each of those seeds represents hope plus gives me someone to talk to…lol.


Jeera Aloo Recipe

by Jessy

Jeera Aloo (potatoes sauteed with cumin) is a vegetarian dish that is simple, healthy, tasty, and easy to make at home with only a few ingredients.

Ingredients

4 boiled potatoes, medium size (cut in cubes)

1 ½ tsp jeera, whole (cumin seeds)

1 tsp ginger (fresh), minced

1 jalapeno, chopped (optional)

½ tsp turmeric powder

½ tsp jeera powder (cumin seeds powder)

2 tsp dry mango powder *

1 tsp coriander powder

1 tsp paprika powder

1 tbsp oil

Salt to taste

Few sprigs of coriander leaves (chopped)

Method

In a pan, add oil, once hot, add jeera, let it sizzle, add the ginger and jalapeno. Mix well.

After two mins, on low flame, add turmeric powder, cumin powder, dry mango powder, coriander powder, paprika powder and salt. Mix well for a couple of mins. on low flame.

Add boiled potatoes, mix in well to coat it with the spice mix. Close the pan and let it cook for 10 mins. on low flame. Once the potatoes are well coated, check seasoning, and garnish with chopped coriander leaves.

*PS: If you don’t find dry mango powder, after the potatoes have been coated with the spice mix, squeeze ½ lime or lemon or add 1 tsp. of lemon/lime juice.