Building community over hot dogs

Live music and hot dogs bring a community together at Crab Park.

Credit: Jess McMahon

Since Truckstop Dining’s first event on Christmas of 2007, founder Tara McAteer has noticed everything has gotten “bigger.” This includes bigger awareness, more volunteers and a larger sense of a unionized community. Starting with an idea and a Craigslist ad, McAteer happily made hot turkey sandwiches for 200 people with the help of about 13 volunteers that year. More recently, she and her army of Truckstop Dining volunteers showed once again how generosity—of spirit, of time and, yes, of food—can inspire and help break down social barriers.

Why Truckstop Dining?

Get the full story on how Tara McAteer was inspired to feed the masses from her craft services truck.

The organization’s free barbecue at Crab Park on Saturday, July 25 was held on a beautiful, cloudless afternoon. With an expected turnout of about 3,000 Downtown Eastside residents, it was no wonder that just after 12:00 pm, there was already a lineup of 200 people. Roughly 100 volunteers happily gathered to flip burgers, set up tents, shuck corn and hand out a variety of meals throughout the day.

Accompanying the meal was a hefty side of live music, with a lineup that included Ali Milner, Kostaman and The Good Vibrations. McAteer feels that adding the element of music within these events “builds a sense of community, allows people to mingle and lets different demographics come together.”

This was apparent as DTES residents happily settled on picnic blankets to soak in the relaxing atmosphere while enjoying hamburgers, hotdogs, corn, potato salad and watermelon. Children ran around the water park, dogs enjoyed attention from everyone and anyone, and many people sought prime real estate on the hill in front of the live music stage.

The gleaming waters of Burrard Inlet set a beautiful backdrop. It was the perfect day for a barbecue, and a perfect example of the success of Truckstop Dining’s goal to create a larger sense of community within the DTES. 

To learn more about Truckstop Dining or for volunteer opportunities, visit Dining at Crab Park, Vancouver

Truckstop Dining at Crab Park, Vancouver



Jessica McMahon

Jess McMahon holds a bachelor’s degree from Simon Fraser University and has recently completed Capilano University’s Magazine Publishing Program. She hopes to pursue a career in writing or publishing.