3. Ray-Cam: Cooking Up Community


Project Title

Cooking Up Community: Developing a Community Kitchen at Ray-Cam Community Centre

Organization Name

Ray-Cam Community Centre


Related Course Concepts

Food justice, Food security, Asset based community development, Social class/income inequality, Cultural identities, Racism, Colonialism, Indigenous food sovereignty

Organization Information

Organization Name

Ray-Cam Community Centre

Mission and Vision of Organization

Ray-Cam Co-operative Centre’s mission is to encourage and support community members to utilize their strengths and gifts in the improvement of day to day life of the community. Ray-Cam operates and manages our community centre as well as multiple partnership programs. We offer childcare (pre-school and school-aged) programs with a diverse population including a high participation of urban Indigenous children. We offer programming and recreational access and support to seniors, teens and families. Ray-Cam Co-operative Centre has a long history of community work and our operations are based on a series of partnership arrangements. The centre opened in 1976 and was the result of the collective vision, energy and commitment of local residents, wanting a safe place for their children and a food co-op to ensure access to healthy, affordable food. We are located in the Downtown Eastside – Strathcona neighborhood and along the Hastings Corridor of the inner city of Vancouver. The Centre is operated by two associations with volunteer boards of directors 90% of whom live in the community.

Guiding Principles + Values

The following Principles and Value Guide all of the work we do here at Ray-Cam

  • Capacity Building: A capacity-building approach develops programs and activities based on the capacities, skills, and assets of residents and their neighborhoods, providing opportunities for individuals to enhance and use their own abilities.
  • Place Based: A place-based approach assures that programs come from the community, are accessible in their neighborhood or surrounding community area, and fit in with community values and style.
  • Community Engagement: Relationships and understanding are built through sharing experiences and developing opportunities to work together for the common good.
  • Reconciliation: Incorporates the aspirations of urban Indigenous people for active inclusion and meaningful participation in the neighborhoods and city in which they live. Reconciliation is inclusion, engagement, listening, collaboration and commitments to make a change and working differently to be inclusive and reflective. It is about creating a new culture together.
  • Inclusion: Including and reflecting the wise variety of community members who choose to make this community home. To provide opportunities, programs and services; to help create a sense of neighborliness: and to strengthen, support and assisting the positive growth of individuals, family and community life. Inclusion is about building community.

Contact Information

  • Primary Contact Person(s): Rebecca Bartlett
  • Email: rebecca.bartlett@vancouver.ca
  • Phone: 604-257-6949
  • Address: 920 E. Hastings, Vancouver BC
  • Website: http://raycam.org/

Preferred Method of Contact

  • Best method(s) to contact: Email
  • Best day(s) to contact:Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays
  • Best time(s) to contact: Mornings

Project Description

Context: What challenge or issue does the project aim to address?

Food security is an ongoing issue in the Downtown Eastside community as a whole and for the families and youth who access Ray-Cam. Ray-Cam has been interested for some time in developing a community kitchen program as one way of addressing food security. The idea would be community members would come by a a regular basis (once a week perhaps) and work together to cook healthy, nutritious, low cost meals that they could then take home. A community Kitchen program would not only allow community members to develop cooking skills and abilities, but would also provide ongoing access to nutritious food while also addressing a community need.

Main Project Activities

  • Researching current community kitchens in the Downtown Eastside area and seeing how they operate
  • Researching funding opportunities for community kitchens
  • Researching a potential model/program plan for a future community kitchen at Ray-Cam

Expected Project Deliverable(s)

  • A program outline for a potential community kitchen at Ray-Cam as well as a number of proposed funding sources

Student Assets and Skills (preferred or required)

  • An understanding of the impacts of colonization and intergenerational trauma on urban Indigenous populations
  • An understanding of the social, economic, political, historical, systemic and institutional factors that perpetuate cycles of poverty and access to opportunity (social, economic etc.)
  • An understanding of the impact of race, Indigeneity, gender, sexuality, ability, socioeconomic status, and many other markers of identity, in shaping every individuals daily lived reality and experiences of power and oppression as this relates to food security.

Student Assets and Skills (to be developed through the project)

  • Develop an understanding of the Downtown Eastside-Strathcona neighborhood and the impact of food security, or lack thereof, on the daily lives of community members
  • Develop an understanding of the multifaceted nature of services and supports within a community organization

Are there any mandatory attendance dates (e.g. special event)?

  • No

Is a criminal record check required?

  • No

Project Location

  • Ray-Cam Community Centre

Preferred Days of Week and Hours

  • Tuesday, Wednesdays, or Fridays

Related Community Service Opportunities for Students

  • Please ask.

Required Reading

Project/Partner Orientation Materials

Students should review these materials prior to the first partner meeting:

Additional Project/Partner Orientation Materials

The following will be provided at the first community partner meeting:

  • Building tour
  • In-person community orientation

General Resources

Expected Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

I hope students will learn about...

  • the impact of having access to healthy, delicious and affordable food of a person's sense of physical, emotional and mental well-being

I think students will come to appreciate...

  • the thriving community that is the downtown eastside and its many strengths

Through this project, students will develop...

  • an appreciation for the importance of food security in determining folks' daily realities and sense of self

Organizational Outcomes

Intended Project Outcome (Short-term Outcome)

  • The research and information needed to build our own community kitchen program at Ray-Cam based on other community centers/community organizations who are currently operating successful community kitchens - a list of potential funding sources for a community kitchen

Medium-term Outcome

  • Providing the building blocks for a community program that addresses the needs and wants of the community while also building on and expanding community members existing skills and abilities. A community kitchen would address the ongoing issue of food security that exists in the downtown east side while also providing folks with access to fresh, healthy and delicious food that they themselves cook, allowing a sense of pride, ownership and dignity in food access.

How does the student project contribute to your organization's mission and long-term vision?

  • This project advances Ray-Cam's mission to encourage and support community members to utilize their strengths and gifts in the improvement of day to day life of the community.
source: https://wiki.ubc.ca/Course:LFS350/Projects/W2020/Ray-Cam