Fifteen years ago, Ms. Donna Crocker was invited by her sister-in-law, a caterer, to help distribute left over food from an event to the streets of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. Little did she know that this would become her passion and she would become a major contributor to what little warmth and comfort Vancouver’s street residents have in their lives.
Ms. Crocker started a street ministry – Friendship Providers in Action – and every Sunday leads a team of volunteers serving food to more than 700 people, most of whom are homeless. They set up tables at three locations and serve more than 2,500 sandwiches, homemade soup, dessert and drinks; all prepared the previous Friday night.
Donna Crocker works tirelessly to collect donations. She organizes lawyers to buy blankets each year for her street ministry to distribute. She collects new clothing from a contact in the industry and distributes it through shelters across the Lower Mainland. She brings high school students from five different schools into the Downtown Eastside to help educate them in social responsibility.
She opened street churches in Vancouver and Surrey, one of the main reasons for doing this, was to provide a warm meal and clean clothing and toiletries; it also provided them with a place to simply rest and relax-if only for a few hours.
She became a hospital chaplain so she could spend time with street residents who are sick or dying. She also sits on the board of the Salvation Army. This provides her with access to shelters and de’tox centers were she can direct people too. And on it goes.
The people on the streets know how much Ms. Crocker loves and cares for them. Her actions bear this out, every day of the year.