Turkey, vegetables, mashed potatoes, gravy, and to top it all off – pumpkin pie with ice cream.
For the 75th year, the Union Gospel Mission served up its annual Christmas meal to nearly 3,000 of the city’s neediest.
For Jeff Parsons, a simple holiday meal helped change his life around.
“I’m three weeks away from taking a seven year sobriety. I was in a crack addiction for many years and I needed help, and at that time I was unsure about this. But it changed for me when they showed the love and the care.”
Anna says the draw for her is the feeling of community.
“I have family in town, but they don’t want nothing to do with me. [UGM] treat us like family, they don’t treat us like outcasts.”
She says she’s been coming to the annual meal for the past 8 years.
“And if it wasn’t for them, I’d be on drugs, doing booze, whatever… this is our Christmas.”
Volunteers working on the assembly line pic.twitter.com/0eU4Cg8dEa
— Roshini Nair (@roshini980) December 5, 2015
UGM President Bill Mollard says preparing for the meal is a year-long effort.
He says the winter is always the busiest time for the shelter, but also one of the greatest opportunities – and he hopes to see more successes like Anna and Jeff in today.
“People will be come out of the streets today, they’ll be struggling with addictions, or maybe mental health. And we’ll see some tremendous turning points in people’s lives today. They’ll come in, they’ll get a great meal, they’ll get warm, and people will start looking at their lives differently today. People will turn their lives around today”
The meal runs from 10:30 to 4 pm at three different locations.
It doesn’t get much more Christmasy than this. The gang in New West will help serve more than 3,000 meals today! pic.twitter.com/abPzgKZUri
— Union Gospel Mission (@ugm) December 5, 2015