Blackbird Fabrics donates 1% of our revenue each month to a rotating non-profit. With the help of recommendations from our team members, friends & family, and our customers, we choose non-profits that support causes that are important to us and our community. You can find a full list of organizations that we have supported here!
Our non-profit for November is Potluck Café Society.
We had the opportunity to speak with Naved Noorani, the Executive Director, to find out more about the organization and their ongoing initiatives.
Potluck Café Society started 20 years ago in 2001 as a social enterprise to improve the lives of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside (DTES) community by creating permanent job opportunities and providing access to nutritious food to its vulnerable residents. Potluck has since provided over 325,000 hours of employment and served over 290,000 meals to the DTES.
Potluck Café Society is a registered charity that owns and operates Potluck Café & Catering, their social enterprise business that provides up to 25% of their operating revenue to run their charity’s ongoing programs and employs DTES residents. Their catering business creates job opportunities in a safe and nurturing environment where people living with persistent barriers, such as mental health and poverty, can successfully integrate back into the workforce. Potluck trains their staff to cook in a commercial kitchen, providing both work and life skills to regain their confidence, skills, and economic independence.
The COVID-19 pandemic brought on a slew of sudden emergencies and they quickly changed their operations to meet the additional challenges that DTES residents were now facing. Potluck Café Society pivoted their catering services focused on delivering over 2500 meals a day to people in need, leading and working with other restaurants and non-profit organizations to make this possible. Over 137,000 meals have been provided to the DTES thus far during the global pandemic.
Naved and his team are immensely busy running their catering services and delivering daily meals to the DTES. Naved also continues to work on building new relationships with other organizations and businesses to expand their social enterprise network. They are currently working on finding a solution to help reduce food waste by connecting directly with farmers around Vancouver, and purchasing their overstock of veggies to create meals that can be frozen, such as soups, to extend the shelf life of fresh produce.
We asked Naved on how others can help the people in their communities who are living in poverty. He strongly advocates choosing social enterprise businesses whenever possible. There are many services that for-profit businesses need, such as cleaning or catering, and choosing a social enterprise can meet those demands while benefiting the community.