Students Serve the Downtown Eastside
Jul 24, 2017
Passionate about social justice, Megan Delfin is one of many Corpus Chisti College students who volunteer their time with Curbside Outreach, a monthly food and fellowship program coordinated by Corpus Christi College at The Door Is Open.
“Going to The Door Is Open is my favourite thing to do on a Friday evening,” says Megan.
A critical drop-in centre on Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, The Door Is Open serves local residents, including some who struggle with difficulties such as drug and alcohol addiction, physical and mental health issues, and the compounding consequences of poverty. Operated by the Archdiocese of Vancouver with the Missionaries of Charity, the facility is a base for Corpus Christi College students to host the Curbside Outreach program and has even become a satellite classroom for select social justice courses offered by the College.
Through engaging with residents of the Downtown Eastside, students are able to begin conversations and develop friendships with those who lead difficult lives. Meaningful encounters are promoted through food and fellowship with students preparing dinner and the ever-popular hot chocolate with whipped cream for 100 to 200 guests.
“I have learned many things, most importantly that everyone has a story to tell. Through Curbside, I was able to thoroughly embrace this,” reflects Katherine Figueiredo, a Corpus Christi College alumna who currently attends UBC and continues to participate in Curbside.
After connecting with a Door Is Open guest named Glenn, Megan was inspired by his ability to stay positive after experiencing fear and loneliness.
“Glenn told me how he was able to stand strong and move forward, and his story inspired me to push through my own struggles too. One thing I’ll remember from that conversation was him telling me to ‘keep smiling, because it’s the one thing that’s always free’”.
This upcoming school year, Megan will be overseeing Curbside Outreach as the student Faith and Outreach Officer of the Catholic Colleges’ Student Union. She looks forward to launching themed cuisines for each month and a special Curbside Christmas event.