As Kelowna’s Gospel Mission prepares up to 300 Thanksgiving meals for people living in homeless shelters and on the streets, it’s reminding the public to be extra compassionate towards those struggling.
“All of them come to us with some various loss in their life,” said Carmen Rempel, executive director for the Gospel Mission.
“So when it comes to Thanksgiving and Christmas and Easter and all these times that are supposed to be happy and cheerful, it can often just magnify some of the grief and some of the losses.”
The Gospel Mission’s annual tradition of hosting a Thanksgiving lunch will continue this year but will look a little different from years past.
“In years past the doors would be wide open and hundreds of people would come through the doors of the shelter to get their meals,” Rempel told Global News.
But because of the COVID-19 pandemic, there’s a limit to how many people can dine inside the shelter.
“We will be doing plated service at our Leon site for the turkey dinner but the turkey dinner will also be served to the folks at staying at Doyle Avenue shelter,” Rempel said. “These dinners will also be packaged up in to go containers and sent all over the city with our outreach team.”
The Gospel Mission has been preparing for the Thanksgiving meal for weeks now, having made a lot of purchases to put it all on.
“We bought 30 turkeys, 16 hams, 250 pounds of potatoes, we have 250 pieces of pie,” Rempel said.
Among the ways the public can help support the Thanksgiving tradition is with monetary donations, Rempel added.
“We would be happy to take people’s donations to be able to help cover the cost of this big extravagant meal.” she said.
But she says showing extra compassion to people on the streets is also important.
“I would love for the public to just have a lot of empathy for folks this weekend,” Rempel said.
“Holidays can be tough, really tough for people who are separated from their families. So if you see someone who is maybe behaving in a not great way or is just looking like they’re having a bad day, just have a little bit of extra grace a little bit of extra compassion and empathy for folks this weekend.”