View Full Version : Inner City barbecue to feed 1,500 people

20-07-2007, 10:02 AM
Inner City barbecue to feed 1,500 people

Fri, July 20, 2007
Edmonton Sun

More than a dozen community-based human service agencies have banded together and organized a barbecue for residents of Edmonton's inner city.

"The Inner City BBQ feeds around 1,500 women, men and children living in poverty," said Rosalie Gelderman, one of the organizers of the event.

Gelderman said the barbecue gives people who don't have the resources to attend Capital Ex a chance to enjoy themselves with free food, live music and activities for kids.

The 23rd annual barbecue starts at noon today at the Boyle Street Communiy League.


20-07-2007, 10:02 AM
^ :smt023

20-07-2007, 05:47 PM
Shame, I wish I had seen this earlier.
I know a few people who would have loved to attend.
Hopefully it went fine.

20-07-2007, 07:11 PM
'A moment of freedom' at free bbq for inner-city

Fri, July 20, 2007

Judy Biche is all smiles as she has a plate of barbecue as she took in the Inner City BBQ at the Boyle Street Community League Friday.

Capital Ex is the last thing on the minds of those struggling to stay afloat during Edmonton’s housing crunch, but a free barbecue in the inner city Friday gave them an afternoon of fun and food.

“Most of the inner-city community is unable to make it (to Capital Ex). So we bring it to them,” said one organizer, Rosalie Gelderman.

This is the 23rd year in a row that charitable organizations serving the inner city have provided the community with a free barbecue as well as live entertainment and activities for kids.

“We’re just trying to put on a fun day for them,” said Mustard Seed employee Casey Hernandez.

Organizers planned to feed around 1,500 people at the Boyle Street Community League park between noon and 4 p.m. Friday, before packing up any leftovers for those who need them.

Fifteen performers were scheduled to entertain the crowd, most of whom sought shelter from the hot sun under a large tent.

“It gives them a diversion,” said Herb Jamieson resident Brian Huntley. “It’s a moment of freedom from what they’re all tied up in.”

April Stonehouse brought daughters Katelynn, 6, and Courtney, 3, to the barbecue, where they sat under the kids’ tent eating and colouring.

“We had to get out today and have some fun,” said Stonehouse.

After moving to Edmonton from Manitoba a few years ago, the Stonehouses are finding it difficult to thrive in the city.

“Housing takes most of our income, so a day out is rare,” she said.

Longtime volunteer Colleen Cook said getting information out about the barbecue is difficult, but finding people to help out is easy.

She said about 50 people from various organizations were on hand to help out, but people from the street or who have a history of life on the street also show up to offer assistance.


21-07-2007, 08:43 AM
First point:
Congratulations to a group of volunteers for lifting people's day.

Second point:
I've volunteered at barbecues like that. It's nice to put on a dinner for people, but it is also nice to make your own dinner. At some point, do we create a group of people shuffling from free cafeteria to free cafeteria?

What was the old saying? Give a person their dinner and you feed them for a day...teach them to make dinner and...well that wasn't the saying but I hope I'm making my point.

And my point is: Being homeless or struggling from paycheque to paycheque is one of the most helpless positions a person can endure.
Yet, as a volunteer at one of these events in the past, I always felt that there was a lot more human potential sitting there in the 700 people waiting to be fed than in the 15 or so volunteers dishing out the food.

But there is a subtle dynamic that encourages everyone to forget that on both sides of the serving line. I worry about letting people believe they just have to sit there and wait for a volunteer to cook for them or or wait for someone to serve them or wait for someone to clean up after them.

Charity should be something you do for someone, not something you do to them. When people have very little, to assume they actually have nothing takes away more from their dignity than they can afford to spare.

It seems to me that it would be a more powerful event if it wasn't based on a group of the tired huddled masses waiting for a few charitable volunteers to swoop in and fix everything for them. With a few supplies, most of those people could have just made their own lunches, investing their own efforts into the event and enjoying the fruits of their own labours as well. That is important to a lot of people in those shoes, or at least it should be.

I know it is just a barbecue and it should be a day to kick back and enjoy instead of philosophizing. I had fun and I hope people enjoyed the food. Maybe that is all it is. I dunno any thoughts?