Conversations over supper to bridge differences

Inaugural community supper links homeless with privileged

A conversation between friends has led to the organization of a community supper that will bring together Victoria’s homeless with people who don’t know what it’s like living hand to mouth.

“I know a lot of people who bitch about the homeless, but they have no idea who they are,” said Petr Prusa, owner of Floyd’s Diner where an inaugural invite-only free community supper will be hosted Sunday night (Nov. 20).

“So I thought if we can get them together in some capacity, especially over a meal because that’s when most people do their talking, you can get some kind of sense of who these people are,” Prusa said. “Maybe something good can come of it.”

It may inspire other restaurant owners and food suppliers to take turns hosting a similar event, possibly once a month, said Prusa, whose staff are donating their time, while food supply company, Sysco, is donating the food.

The meal may help bridge differences, or at least open the lines of communication, said Nigel Seale, an organizer and friend of Prusa’s.

“There’s fear on both sides of that table,” said Seale. “Are these (homeless) people dangerous? And we probably appear as something we’re not, too.”

And by hosting the sit-down meal on a Sunday, Victoria’s impoverished can enjoy a warm meal on the one day when they usually go without, said Seale.

Forty invitations have gone out to the homeless through different organizations, and the eight-member Victoria Community Supper committee has extended similar invitations to “regular folk,” said Seale.

“This first one should be interesting,” said Prusa, who will take on hosting duties during the supper to ensure conversations flow.

“Who knows what friendships come from that, and who knows what happens,” said Seale. “It’s kind of like a question mark.”

 

emccracken@vicnews.com