When I told my neighbours on the Promenade in Oliver that I was moving to Boyle Street, they said I was going to “skid row.” This community is so much better than that. The majority of people in this neighbourhood have always been friendly and helpful to me. My next door neighbour shovels my walk in winter and mows my lawn in the summer. If I’m out first, I do the sidewalks in front of our three houses. My neighbours recognize that as a senior, I’m not as strong as I used to be. Perhaps many of you who live next door to an older person can help them out with lawns and sidewalks too. If you have a neighbour who is frail, you can offer to check in by calling them daily at the same time to make sure they are okay.
Boyle Street has a real sense of community. My very first month here, strangers off the street were helping me with yard work. Ours is a diverse population of many races and creeds, and we seem to get along well.The Sahaba Mosque down the street opened their doors to the homeless during the really cold spell we had. There are formerly homeless people who help me with maintenance and repairs on the house. As homeless and under-housed people trudge down our alleys, perhaps we can hire them to do odd jobs. Boyle Street Community Services also operates a social enterprise called HireGood, where vulnerable people can be hired for cleaning, junk removal, snow removal, and property maintenance. They offer special rates to the elderly or disabled.
The vulnerable people in our neighbourhood are not a burden – they are a resource. Let’s make this a community where no one is left behind. Let’s make sure that everyone is safe and fed. There is food being passed out by the Mission on the SW corner of 95th Street and 103A Avenue, for those who don’t have money to shop in a grocery store. For those of us on a budget, there is fresh food every Thursday from 3-5 p.m. at the Boyle Street Plaza. As the community comes into its own, we now have a great farmer’s market in the old Army and Navy building. I hope that those who can afford to, shop at the market to support the vendors who sell locally-made goods.
Many of you were invited to join the social networking site Nextdoor, as I was. I’m glad I joined. People are watching out for each other. I had a chance to borrow a meat grinder from another Nextdoor member so I could grind up beef fat to put out for the birds. People are buying/selling things and offering services.
Let’s all look for ways to connect to our neighbours. When you’re in a grocery line-up chat with the people around you. Any time you’re standing around waiting, start out with a compliment to the person next to you and see if they are interested in a conversation. Above all, let’s be kind to each other.
Manon is a resident of Boyle Street and an active volunteer in the community. This column contains her own opinions, and is not affiliated with the Boyle Street Community League.