From Planted’s Community Kitchen Coordinator, Simeon:
Vancouver may be one of the most livable cities in the world, but that doesn’t stop the residents of this world-class city feeling lonely and isolated, according to a 2012 report by the Vancouver Foundation. The reality is, that after our basic needs like food and shelter have been met, true quality of life is to be found in our sense of belonging and interconnectedness.
But the reality is that loneliness is becoming more common as people live alone or become isolated from relatives and friends, especially in retirement, when lifestyles shrink in line with budgets. And as more people are living longer, more people are spending a bigger part of their lives feeling lonely, which can have a significant impact on their physical and mental health.
And the statistics surrounding loneliness are not fun reading. According to recent studies, chronic loneliness can increase the chances of an early grave by 14 per cent, which is as bad as being obese and almost as bad as poverty in undermining a person’s long-term wellbeing. Far from living the good life, many retirees struggle with the effects of co-workers, family and friends “moving on” with their own lives.
Community Kitchens, like the one run out of Holy Trinity Anglican Church twice a month in partnership with South Granville Seniors Centre, get folk out of their apartments to partake in something that they “LOVE to do”, according to a recent email from a participant. The goal of a community kitchen is to build on the strengths of participants to improve nutrition, social interconnectedness, and promote a more equitable society around food by cultivating community solutions to hunger and isolation.
“At first, I had no idea what a Community Kitchen was all about. After attending the first one, it became clearer to me what we were going to be doing. I find the positive experience to be quite rewarding. I love to cook, learn new things, and to have input from those attending. I feel like I have contributed to these sessions.” – South Granville Seniors Centre Community Kitchen participant.
Why not consider establishing a Community Kitchen with a group of friends or neighbours – invite a few people who you know are struggling with isolation, for whatever reason, and use the act of preparing a meal and eating together to build stronger relationships with those who are feeling the pain of being alone?