New Year’s Frybread Giveaway inspired by Frank Paul
Kat Norris asks people “not to forget the homeless” this winter. The Coast Salish activist and grandmother is calling on those who want to do something for disadvantaged folks in the Downtown Eastside to help her put on the sixth annual New Year’s Frybread Giveaway.
On New Year’s Eve (December 31), dozens of volunteers will be making frybread, sandwiches, and other foods at the Aboriginal Front Door Society (384 Main Street) and Downtown Eastside Neighbourhood House (573 East Hastings Street). Norris, the founder of the group Indigenous Action Movement, told the Straight people will be handing out food and clothing outside the Front Door to anyone in need, starting at 3 p.m. Volunteers will also deliver provisions to sex workers and homeless people in the area.
“What we like to do is give them a little taste of home with the frybread,” Norris said by phone from her East Vancouver home. “Non-Natives and Natives really love it down there.”
Norris noted her volunteer cooks will need donations of all-purpose flour, baking powder, cooking oil, peanut butter, jam, and cold cuts. People can also drop off baked goods, soups, and candy—as well as coats, tuques, socks, toiletries, forks, spoons, and bowls—after 11 a.m. at the neighbourhood house and the Front Door.
According to Norris, the event arose from her 10 years of organizing rallies seeking justice for Frank Paul. The Mi’kmaq man died of hypothermia in 1998, after being refused entry to the drunk tank and left in an alley by Vancouver police. A public inquiry into Paul’s death began in 2007 and saw its final report released in 2011.
“It’s in the spirit of Frank Paul, because we couldn’t be and we weren’t there for him,” Norris said. “So this is in his name that we are doing what we can to feed the people in the winter months.”