DTES Community Care Program
The DTES Community Care Program is a year round suite of social justice programs produced by The Powell Street Festival that services Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside (DTES). The DTES Community Care Program includes: the Hanami Cherry Blossom Picnic, Minori Harvest, the Asahi Tribute Game, the Giving Ceremony and the PowellStFest Community Kitchen. These programs aim to raise awareness of Japanese Canadian history and culture, while creating inclusive, capacity-building experiences that foster economic and social equity for everyone.
These programs provide meaningful and sustainable connection to the historic location of the early Japanese settlers prior to their forced removal during the Second World War. Through our practice of social justice through art and culture, we honour this heritage while seeking to be accountable as settler-colonizers and acknowledging the larger narrative of displacement on these unceded territories of the Tsleil–Waututh, Squamish, and Musqueam peoples.
PowellStFest Community Kitchen
PowellStFest Community Kitchen program is our meal program servicing the DTES neighbourhood. The meals help fill the gap of insufficient food for low-income community and the cooking program provides an opportunity for people to cook together, learn new skills, and build community. This not only provides a positive mental health experience but gives people the sense of gratification and steady income.
As of mid-October 2020, PSFS contributes to the WePress Community Kitchen based in the Vancouver Japanese Language School & Japanese Hall’s (VJLS-JH) facility to cook and distribute 200 meals per day, Mondays through Fridays. We are also supporting a pilot project with Health through Spirit, who are integrating their peers into this network with enhanced mental health and trauma support.
Powell Street Festival Society is now part of the Downtown Eastside Community Kitchens (DECK), where a network of grassroots groups have gathered to enhance food security, work towards a long-term vision of food sovereignty, and nurture community resilience in our beloved Downtown Eastside (DTES) neighbourhood.
The Giving Ceremony
To symbolize this reciprocal relationship, we staged a physical-distance-respecting ceremony to honour our ancestors and offer furoshiki-wrapped gifts to our DTES friends and community partners. This choreographed event was shared during the live Telethon on August 1, 2020.
Behind the scenes, we also delivered 1500 care packages to unhoused and precariously housed people living in the Powell Street neighbourhood the week of July 27, 2020. This was a big undertaking which we couldn’t have done without the logistical support from our DTES partner organizations and financial support from the Vancouver Foundation.
We thank our DTES Community Partners including: Aboriginal Front Door, Carnegie Community Centre, Carnegie Community Action Project, DTES Neighbourhood House, Health Through Spirit, Muslim Care Centre, Overdose Prevention Sites, Pace, Wish, Right to Remain, SRO Collaborative, VANDU, Watari, WePress Community Art Space, Western Aboriginal Harm Reduction Society, Vancouver Buddhist Temple, Vancouver Japanese Language School and Japanese Hall, Vancouver Womens Health Centre.
Asahi Tribute Game
The Vancouver Asahi was a Japanese Canadian baseball team that played in the Powell Street area, a historically Japanese Canadian community, from 1914 to 1941. Their home field was Oppenheimer Park.
We play baseball in recognition of the Vancouver Asahi for their contribution to the sport of baseball (the team was inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in 2003 and the BC Sports Hall of Fame in 2005), and for their place in and impact on the history of Canada, human and citizenship rights, and community-building.
The Annual Vancouver Asahi Tribute Game is a free, inclusive, and family-friendly place to play ball, eat hot dogs, and come together for some summer fun!
In lieu of the Annual Asahi Tribute Game, which was cancelled due to the pandemic, PSFS screened the feature film The Vancouver Asahi at the DTES Heart of the City Festival. PSFS partnered with VJLS–JH/Atira’s Respite Space in the Japanese Hall. To add to the festivities, PSFS distributed popcorn and origami baseball cap art prompts! A heartfelt thank you to Grace Eiko Thomson for providing access to the film.
Click to enjoy our Asahi Tribute- Origami Baseball Cap Prompt!
Hanami Cherry Blossom Picnic
Celebrate the Sakura Blossoms with free Japanese Curry Lunch and Haiku and Calligraphy Workshops.
Presented by Powell Street Festival Society and Oppenheimer Park.
Minori Harvest 2019
Celebrating and sharing the delicious abundance of autumn with our DTES community!
Click to enjoy our Minori Harvest- Pumpkin Origami Prompt!