On the evening of Sunday, Feb. 23, West Coast Waffles resounds with the clatter of plates, upbeat music, and children’s laughter. The atmosphere is energetic, hectic yet contented, and the sumptuous smell of warm waffles fills the air.
Sixty kids have arrived for their waffle dinner, as part of a free program for at-risk youth called Superkids, which takes children out for free barbeques, picnics, and other field trips. Jordan Brown co-ordinated the event, as founder and CEO of West Coast Waffles, along with Cliff Power, founder and executive director of the Extreme Outreach Society.
“We’ve done two similar events,” Brown recalls. “We got better with practice.”
The point of the dinner is not just to provide a free meal. Superkids is a program specifically designed to support the community’s most vulnerable and underprivileged young people. The children come from socioeconomic backgrounds that may make it hard for them to rely on other adults around them for emotional and physical support, so contributors to Superkids do everything possible to allow the children to feel that both their emotional and physical needs are being fulfilled.
“You’re helping them, you’re giving them food, listening to what they want,” says Brown. “A lot of those kids aren’t used to getting that amount of attention.”
Brown and his staff clearly take their business’s role in the community seriously and are constantly aware of the challenges of this responsibility. “I shouldn’t say a lot of businesses overlook [community service], but I mean, it takes a lot of effort,” he says. “Like this weekend, we were . . . slam-busy Friday, Saturday, Sunday. We closed at 6 [on Sunday evening], and 60 kids showed up at 6:15. That takes a tremendous amount of work to do that. That’s why I think you don’t see more of it, because people are busy running their businesses.”
Even so, Brown asserts that it’s always worth the effort for people to help each other—that helping others is the end goal that gives real meaning to any kind of enterprise. “If you’re in business, just know that you’re in business to help people. When you help people is when you become successful in business.”
To participate in Superkids and other Extreme Outreach activities, visit extremeoutreach.com, as well as westcoastwaffles.ca.