By Janet Szliske, CUPEBC.
NORTH VANCOUVER—CUPE Local 389 creatively adapted their annual May Day tea event honouring seniors in the community who fought for workers’ rights such as pay equity. Instead of serving lunch and tea at Silver Harbour Centre, they bought 200 hot lunches—including soup and chicken cordon bleu prepared by Silver Harbour’s chef, and cake pops purchased from a local bakery—available for pick-up on May 13 or delivered to seniors at their homes the next day.
“We wanted to continue our tradition of honouring seniors in the community,” said CUPE 389 First Vice-President Joyce Griffiths, noting that they held their first event more than a decade ago.
Griffiths said she really missed the usual face-to-face connection with seniors at the May Day tea: hearing their stories, walking between tables to serve and chat with them. “Some would come every year and it was nice to see them again and know that they were doing well.”
Although she missed the connection with people, Griffiths said she was glad the local was able to find a way to support seniors by providing a delicious hot meal at no cost to them. The pick-up was challenging because physical distance had to be maintained, but the food and the thought were appreciated, she said.
“Our local recognized that many seniors were feeling increasingly isolated,” said CUPE 389 President Cindy McQueen. “We wanted to do something to lift their spirits and let them know they weren’t forgotten.”
Pre-pandemic, the May Day events had been centered around a seniors’ tea at Silver Harbour Centre that included lunch, dozens of door prizes, and rollicking entertainment. Last year the event couldn’t be held because the Centre had cancelled all activities and were only preparing meals on an emergency basis.
CUPE 389 is a multi-sector local that represents approximately 3,200 members on the North Shore.
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Note: CUPE Local 389 represents approximately 2,400 members in the North Vancouver region, including employees working for the North Vancouver School District.