The COVID-19 pandemic presented many challenges but surprisingly also many opportunities. For the Maundy Café the main challenge was figuring out how to stay open and continue offering meals while keeping volunteers and guests safe. Those challenges also provided the opportunity to forge new partnerships with other organizations in the community.
This allowed the Maundy to expand its services and reach more people than ever before. The Maundy’s accomplishments have not gone unnoticed. The Anglican Foundation has given this cathedral ministry a significant grant which will allow the development of new programs aimed at reducing food insecurity in the community.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the individuals and communities represented in the food lineup at the Cathedral’s Maundy Cafe To-Go have shifted. While this lineup includes many who live on or close to the street, it now includes many single parents, construction workers, and those who are new to Canada, representing larger families who have remained at home. The Pandemic has revealed significant economic fault lines in the community, with estimates from City staff suggesting that while pre-pandemic nearly 60,000 people in the city found it difficult to access enough daily bread, by summer 2020, that number had reached 90,000 people and was growing. This number is not faceless. Indeed, many of our neighbours in Vancouver’s Downtown and West End neighbourhoods are increasingly affected by the lack of affordability, a growing income gap, leading them to make ends meet with emergency food programs.
The church has an important and vital role to play in addressing immediate needs.
Daily contact with individuals and families experiencing increased poverty has compelled The Maundy Team to respond to their growing need. The problem of hunger won’t be solved by more charitable food. What the Cathedral aims to do is to question and replace the economic models that lead to the ever-increasing income inequality that so many of our neighbours are experiencing.
With the generous support of the Anglican Foundation, The Maundy Ministries will develop the Maundy Community Food Centre.
The Maundy Community Food Centre will be a place where all participants are able to come together to grow, cook, share, and advocate for good food. The Maundy will become a place that lives out the biblical rhythms of sabbath and shalom, jubilee and eucharist, seeking to ensure that all God’s children have enough—enough food, enough income, enough love—to fully live. The Food Centre will accomplish these goals through education, advocacy, peer and professional support for guests, and the sharing of food—both home cooked meals and fresh produce for those in need.
Building The Food Centre will take time. To move forward in scaling this approach, the Cathedral needs to take intentional time to develop an organisational and fundraising plan in consultation with key stakeholders that will set the path for growth that is both responsive and prophetic.
Having received this grant,The Maundy will be seeking a business consultant to study It's current capacities, how to make the best use of those capacities, and how to lay the foundation for The Food Centre.
The Maundy Ministry Team is incredibly grateful to the Anglican Foundation for its support and is looking forward to touching even more lives as a result of this grant.