Serving up some good and changing the world, one meal at a time

Our Community


We know that changing the world can be an overwhelming task, but worlds are big and small. An act of giving can as easily change a person’s perspective, change a day, or even have an impact to change a life.

We’ve seen the impacts and contributions our customers provide each and every day, and the worlds they change in the communities they serve. We’ve also been fortunate enough to have seen such an impact in our own backyard. This just happened to be a regular Thursday night in a downtown Vancouver restaurant.

Last month, a few individuals from the Traction Rec team, joined by friends from Uncommon Purpose, participated in Plenty of Plates. This is a program hosted by A Better Life Foundation whose mission is to support the residents of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside with food security. They are in constant pursuit of making a meaningful difference in the lives of those who need it most with dignified, regularly scheduled, and reliable meals in what is most notably known as one of the country's poorest neighborhoods.

On this particular evening, our team of volunteers were tasked to prepare, cook, and serve a safe, sit-down, 3-course meal to nearly 70 neighborhood residents who had been invited in to enjoy a restaurant dining experience.

The Traction Rec team makes me proud every day.  Seeing our team come together with love and compassion was overwhelming.

Most of us haven’t had restaurant or serving experience - but that wasn’t a problem thanks to the guidance (and some patience) from the staff and lead volunteers. They showed us how it’s done in the kitchen and kept us organized with a prepared menu and ingredients. They continually made sure we were running the front of house smoothly to accommodate our guests throughout the evening, and were there to assist swiftly if any hiccups came along the way (there were a few).

“My volunteering has been limited mostly to work-initiated events, such as at the food bank and community cleanups,'' notes Stan Zarud, Traction Rec’s Developer Team Lead, and a first-time volunteer at Plenty of Plates. “The experience was quite different in this case, coming face to face with guests and getting to actually meet the people we were helping.”

It didn’t take us long to find our groove, and incidentally allowed us a little bit of time to get to know each other (away from a work desk and Zoom meetings).

“It was so incredibly fun to be with my co-workers and friends,” says Brynn Anderson, who joined Traction Rec earlier in the year as VP, Product Management - during a time when everyone was still working from home. “It’s been amazing getting to know my team from working remotely... but it was also truly amazing how much faster I got to know them by seeing them in person!”

Brynn, who was covering the tables and serving guests, had the benefit of getting to interact with most of the individuals and families that night. She got to witness the incredible effect some good food and just a little bit of kindness had on people.

We all need community. A Better Life Foundation embraces community, they warm hearts, educate and bring people together. All without judgment.

The evening was more than just about the food. It was about community, and being together. We found joy in helping others, and made connections with individuals we otherwise would have never met before. There were so many moments of thanks, self reflection and laughs shared together on this night.

“One of our core values at Traction Rec is enabling community and we each needed to think about what that meant,” says Lara Gilchrist, CEO of Traction Rec, who coordinated the volunteer opportunity (and cooked the spaghetti sauce!). “The Traction Rec team makes me proud every day. Seeing our team come together with love and compassion was overwhelming for me.” This was Lara’s second volunteer experience at Plenty of Plates, “and was even more amazing than the last, because it was with my team.”

By the end of the night, this experience proved to be so meaningful to us, likely as much as it did for our guests. Unexpectedly, we changed a lot more worlds that night.

“We all need community. A Better Life Foundation embraces community, they warm hearts, educate and bring people together. All without judgment,” adds Lara. “I've done a lot of corporate events and team building in my career, and this is the best experience that any organization can provide to their team. They will leave that night with full hearts and a lifelong bond. I'm proud this community spirit lives with the Traction Rec team.”


Giving back has been an important pillar of our company, and we encourage individuals to do this on the regular. Traction Rec offers employees two paid days per year to volunteer in their community to make a tangible contribution in any way they can. We were grateful to A Better Life Foundation for having us for this evening - one we won’t forget.

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