Kelowna’s Gospel Mission offering Thanksgiving meals to hundreds of people

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Kelowna’s Gospel Mission serving hundreds on Thanksgiving
There's no doubt the holidays can be hard on people, whether it be celebrating alone or affording a meal, and that's especially true for those experiencing homelessness. But as Victoria Femia reports, it seems as if many are dealing with the rising costs of a holiday feast. – Oct 8, 2023

Kelowna’s Gospel Mission plans to serve approximately 400 people on Thanksgiving Sunday.

The number is split between the outreach team which serves people sheltering outdoors and the indoor shelter residents.

“In the morning we served about 120 breakfasts and we’re going out with a little over 100 lunch sandwiches. Our kitchen team has been so amazing. They’ve been prepping for so long,” said Asna Memon, outreach team leader.

With the holidays being a tough time for many, the outreach team is trying to boost the spirits of those who might be celebrating alone.

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“It has been a bit difficult for our unsheltered neighbours they have been struggling with the social isolation that has increased,” said Memon. “I think that this lunch is going to be a super uplifting time for them, they’ve been looking forward to it all week.”

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According to Sylvain Charlebois from the Dalhousie University Agri-Food Analytics Lab, prices of many staples have increased this year compared with October 2022.

The average price of turkey rose 18 per cent compared with last year’s Thanksgiving.

As a result of grocery price increases, many are struggling to afford a holiday feast.

“We’re seeing that more and more it’s hard enough for my staff to afford a turkey, let alone people struggling with basic needs right now,” said Carmen Rempel, Kelowna’s Gospel Mission Executive Director.

“There are many people who are hoping to sit with their families for a big turkey meal, but that’s not the reality for many. We see so many but there’s a lot of hidden homelessness.”

The gospel is serving breakfast lunch and dinner this Thanksgiving.

“I just like being there as somebody who is there for them when they don’t necessarily have anybody else,” said Beata Pshebnick, outreach worker.

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