Giftivism Blossoms In Moss Park
Posted by Thu Nguyen on Jun 15, 2019
Our Toronto volunteers started today with the best gift of all, a sunny day when rain was forecasted.
A year ago on this same weekend, a few of us got together to give this a try, make some banh mi together, bring some paint and gifts, invite a band, and practice making someone's day in Moss Park, giving with no strings attached. Month after month, it's not even the thousands of meals we've offered as gifts, it's not even that we always get enough volunteers and food and gifts to do it again the next month that moves me. It's the shift from a forgotten neighbourhood and isolation...to a community that welcomes each other to a monthly family meal. No matter if the volunteers or guests aren't always the same, no matter what language is spoken, no matter roof or stars over ones head, it's a visible shift into the space of love, compassion, generosity and creativity.
Today we had over 15 volunteers come out to serve over 75 people a delicious vegan menu.
The theme was #GiftitForward inspired by Robin McKenna's GIFT film (we watched it together a few weeks ago at the Toronto Premiere) and of course our Servicespace community. After the film, we plotted how to bring the gift it forward flower display to the park. Then last Saturday at breakfast with Chenny, it just happened that their friends at Sweetpea's had preserved dried roses for them and ready for pick up and they'd like to gift it to Karma Kitchen! So we decided to cook and pack lunch for the staff and then grab the roses.
Then today, Chenny and her dog Hana wheeled this wagon around giving flowers to those who accepted the challenge of giving it away :)
We attached cards that people could write on before they passed it on.
One woman wrote "You are divine" and gave the rose to her daughter.
Lisa then added a message to the rose to pass it on to her husband for Father's Day.
This man could not stop smiling after receiving this rose. He said, "Wow, nobody has ever given me a rose. I'm so grateful." And then started hugging strangers :) It is true, you really never know whose lives you touch with a simple gift.
And so many more smiles all around:
Here's another great use of the rainbow scratch card attached to the flowers :) #KawhiLeonard #TorontoRaptorsNBAChampions
During clean up we noticed roses in a wishing tree, who people assumed was made by someone from Karma Kitchen, but not this time :) Looks like there's other small acts of kindness practitioners in this neighborhood.
We also passed a group of residents whom a year ago glared at us suspiciously….today they all waved and said that the bbq vegetable kebabs were delicious! AND the bottomless pie (which was sugar free, gluten free, dairy free!).
Incredibly grateful for the conditions for this community to emerge right in our neighbourhood.
A place where kids are painting what they'd like to gift the community as peace flags.
And even younger kids choose love.
It's such a joy to start our second year of Karma Kitchen Picnic in the Park...as I continue to be in awe for all the invisible hands, kindness and conditions that make all of this possible, one month at a time.