Volunteers serving more than turkey this Thanksgiving

Tim Klassen went from being a mortgage broker to sleeping on a park bench at English Bay. Jeremy Lye / CKNW

About 130 turkeys have been carved at the Union Gospel Mission (UGM) by the dozens of staff and volunteers who served around 3,000 meals.

Tim Klassen was once one of the thousands of people looking for a warm dinner on Thanksgiving.

Before sleeping on a park bench at English Bay, he was a white-collar professional.

READ MORE: Union Gospel Mission serving up 3,000 Thanksgiving meals in Vancouver’s DTES

The former mortgage broker volunteers with UGM and notices there are more people like him in need of help.

“For anyone that’s maybe a professional or has their own business is not maybe your typical client that you see on the Downtown Eastside – there is hope for you. There’s different ways to get help. You just have to reach out for it.”

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READ MORE: Grease and thank you: Thanksgiving chefs urged to send kitchen grease to the green bin

Tim said most of these people imagine they will never be homeless and it makes asking for help a harder obstacle to overcome.

“The stress of life today is different than what it was before and a lot of people do self-medicate to help them get through that but I would say this that when it comes to people, professionals who are in the white collar industries that there is somewhat of a reluctance to seek help.”

After turning his life around, Tim has reconnected with his children.

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