The Union Gospel Mission is gearing up for tomorrow’s annual Thanksgiving Dinner, and this year there’s a slightly different focus.
2,500 pounds of Turkey, 800 pounds of mashed potatoes and stuffing, and 700 lbs of vegetables along with all the fixings will be served up to some of the city’s neediest.
UGM Spokesperson Jeremy Hunka says the focus is to feed people, but also to connect with the most vulnerable as the province deals with an opioid crisis.
“They come to UGM for this Thanksgiving meal, they hear about it, they look forward to it and they come in and receive some care. And then they connect with some of our guys, support workers and they realize ‘Whoa, UGM does have a recovery program, maybe I can kick this alcohol thing or drug thing.'”
Hunka says while most people coming through their doors are there for immediate crisis needs like food and shelter, many don’t realize they also provide a gateway to services to kick addictions.
“We have our emergency shelter. But we also have a lot more, we have things like and alcohol and drug recovery program. And things like career development counselling and our sanctuary which is a safe and secure refuge for women and babies.”
UGM will serve more than 3,000 meals at three locations in the Downtown Eastside and New Westminster.