Plexiglass, PPE and pie: UGM serves up 2,000 Easter meals with a pandemic twist

Staff at the Union Gospel Mission hand out Easter meals on Saturday. Global News

Staff Vancouver’s Union Gospel Mission are spending the weekend serving up an estimated 2,000 Easter feasts to-go for the city’s homeless.

It’s the second year in a row the charity has been forced to adapt its annual Easter meal to pandemic conditions.

Read more: Pandemic can’t stop Vancouver shelter from serving up 80th Christmas dinner

UGM spokesperson Jeremy Hunka said the COVID-19 crisis, on top of Vancouver’s drug and homelessness crises, has only heightened the need among the most vulnerable.

“Definitely right now people are feeling a little bit of darkness, it’s been an incredibly different year. There have been so many struggles, on top of homelessness, poverty and addiction,” Hunka said.

“We’re hoping that our Easter celebration through a pandemic reminds people that there is hope on the horizon, there is that crack of sunlight penetrating through the darkness right now. People need to feel hope right now.”

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Click to play video: 'Union Gospel Mission’s coronavirus pandemic plan' Union Gospel Mission’s coronavirus pandemic plan
Union Gospel Mission’s coronavirus pandemic plan – Mar 13, 2020

In a normal year, hundreds of people would work to serve about 3,000 meals on a single day at UGM’s main building at 601 East Hastings.

Read more: ‘It’s just not possible’: How can B.C.’s homeless self-isolate, sanitize amid coronavirus pandemic?

Instead, a pared-down team of staff wearing protective equipment are packaging takeaway meals which are being distributed at multiple locations over several days.

Despite the changes, Hunka estimates the UGM will still serve up more than 1,300 pounds of ham, 425 pounds of scalloped potatoes, 160 litres of gravy, 400 pounds of vegetables and about 400 pies.

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