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Kelowna’s Gospel Mission serves up Thanksgiving dinner amid pandemic

Click to play video 'Thanksgiving dinner served up at Kelowna’s Gospel Mission during pandemic' Thanksgiving dinner served up at Kelowna’s Gospel Mission during pandemic
Thanksgiving dinner served up at Kelowna’s Gospel Mission during pandemic – Oct 12, 2020

The annual Thanksgiving dinner at Kelowna’s Gospel Mission was served up a little different this year due to COVID-19 restrictions.

“For our community, having a reason to get together and do something special,” said Carmen Rempel, Kelowna’s Gospel Mission executive director.

“To celebrate is actually really meaningful so we are not going to let this holiday go by without doing something even if it means adapting because of COVID.”

In years past, the mission would serve more than 1,000 people in their dining room. This year, however, only the 60 men living at Kelowna’s Gospel Mission would have a sit-down dinner, while others would take theirs to go.

The holiday is a reminder of the family bond that connects those working, volunteering or staying at Kelowna’s Gospel Mission.

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“Because we have fewer volunteers coming from outside … some of our residents have stepped up,” said Rempel.

“One guy who is staying here happens to be a red seal chef and some other guys who are here just really want to help out, so they are putting out chairs and they are helping to decorate and they are in the dish pit mopping floor.”

That sense of community is reflected in every detail, from the meal to the placemats with personalized messages on the tables.

“Words just don’t cover it, the giving they are doing here. Since I got up this morning, it’s just been hustle-bustle. It’s a team effort that came together to do this day,” said Daniel Sault, a guest at the mission.

Read more: New executive director named for Gospel Mission in Kelowna

Kitchen manager Mandy Phillips has been busy, with her team prepping the meal. She expects to serve upwards of 300 people through take-away bags, their mobile site and sit-down service.

“We’ve got 23 turkeys, 10 hams, 150 lbs. of potatoes, we have got about the same in stuffing,” said Phillips.

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The next dinner to be hosted at Kelowna’s Gospel Mission will happen during the Christmas season on Dec. 19.

Click to play video '‘You are stronger than you believe’: inspirational Thanksgiving at Kelowna Gospel Mission' ‘You are stronger than you believe’: inspirational Thanksgiving at Kelowna Gospel Mission
‘You are stronger than you believe’: inspirational Thanksgiving at Kelowna Gospel Mission – Oct 10, 2016