Vancouver’s Union Gospel Mission (UGM) served up more than 3,000 meals on Saturday, as it marked its 77th annual Christmas dinner.
Staff and volunteers plated up about 2,200 pounds of turkey, along with 800 pounds each of mashed potatoes and stuffing, topped with about 300 litres of gravy.
UGM spokesperson Jeremy Hunka called the the annual event, which took place at the mission’s Downtown Eastside flagship, a success.
“We had more than 100 volunteers and many people were in tears because of the gratitude that was shared by people who were on the street and might not otherwise have a Christmas celebration or Christmas meal like this,” he said.
The holiday season can be particularly tough for people who are struggling, and having the dinner in early December gives hope to those who might need it most, Hunka added.
“It was a busy day. There was a line stretched around the building for the entire day,” Hunka said.
“People were coming to celebrate Christmas, one that they might not be able to celebrate without a meal… it made a big impact on a lot of people.”
Hunka said UGM’s mandate, which begins with offering a warm meal and conversation, can act as a doorway for the city’s most vulnerable to addiction and counselling services.
Hunka said that connection can be the first step for many people towards changing their life.
With dinner out of the way, UGM is now gearing up for its annual Christmas hamper program, Hunka said.
That program collects donations to build holiday hampers for families, seniors and singles in need.