The Union Gospel Mission’s annual Christmas meal is once again warming the hearts of people in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.
Nearly 200 volunteers were up early Saturday morning cooking thousands of pounds of classic Christmas dishes such as turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy.
It is estimated between 2,500 and 3,000 people will eat a Christmas dinner at Vancouver Union Gospel Mission.
“I haven’t had a Christmas dinner for five years,” said attendee Darrin Lloyd.
“I have been living on the street for five years, usually I don’t get anything.”
The mission said it cooked more than 1,800 pounds of turkey, 800 pounds of mashed potatoes, 250 litres of gravy, 800 pounds of vegetables and 575 pies.
“Christmas symbolizes love and connection,” Dean Kurpjuweit said, Union Gospel Mission’s new president.
“I’m honoured to be here for this incredible Christmas meal that infuses joy into the community and lets people know that they matter and belong here.”
The non-profit charity said it’s important for the community to hold these types of events during the holiday season, as it can be a tough time of year with heightened levels of isolation and loneliness.
The Union Gospel Mission provides emergency shelter, meals, outreach, career development counselling, education, safe and affordable housing, and addiction recovery to those struggling with poverty, homelessness and addiction.