Downtown Eastside residents write love letters to family
Many people have lost contact with their loved ones and one woman is trying to change that
Betty Gloria "Che" Carrillo set up a big plastic table full of markers and coloured paper on Tuesday at the corner of East Hastings and Main Street in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside.
Behind her was a large piece of white cardboard with "Letters of Love DTES" spelled out in red Christmas ribbons.
"Over here, there are a lot people that feel rejected," said Carrillo.
Her hope is to change that this holiday season by reconnecting people with their families.
Carrillo will take people's handwritten letters, scan them and upload them to a Facebook page called 'Letters of Love From the DTES.'
People can also send a message through the Facebook page to Downtown Eastside residents and Carrillo will print it off and try to find the person it was addressed to.
"They feel empty, hollow. So by connecting that aspect of them, I think I'm stepping into a good road to link both the suffering and the families," she said.
'I love them anyway'
Residents of the Downtown Eastside dropped by throughout the day Tuesday to write their messages.
Kimo Ueki wrote to his first grandson.
"It says Merry Christmas Bryson, Love Grandpa."
Ueki has never met his grandson, but hopes to one day.
"Down here you get stigmatized, so they kind of think you're an alcoholic or drug addict or gangster. So you get excommunicado from your family," he said, noting he has been sober for 20 years.
"I love them anyway. It doesn't matter who I am," he said.
The tables will be set up across from the Carnegie Centre again on Wednesday, from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.