Because of you, thousands of lives have been changed for the better this year.

We’re on a mission to help communities overcome poverty, homelessness, and addiction—one life at a time. And in 2013-2014, you helped UGM make some tremendous strides towards this goal.

From dedicated volunteers to selfless donors, you’re helping UGM feed hope and change lives. We couldn’t do this life-changing work without you.

Please, take a moment to read this Annual Report, and see what an incredible difference you have made over the past year. We echo Dalmar, when he says, “I am so grateful for this place and the people in it.”

With gratitude,

William B. Mollard

Teresa Black Hughes
Chairperson of the Board of Directors

Running towards Hope

Running towards Hope

Dalmar’s Story

a childhood rooted in joy, eclipsed by war

Dalmar’s early childhood was bright. Growing up beside the wide, boundless ocean had its perks. “We used to swim, go to movies, and walk back along the streets late at night,” Dalmar says, describing his hometown Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia. “My childhood was so great. Until the Civil War reached our city. After that, you either fought or you left. There was no in between.”

“My father didn’t want to leave the country,” Dalmar recalls. “This was his home—it was all he ever knew. Because my dad didn’t want to leave, my mom didn’t either.” When Dalmar was ten years old, his family packed their belongings into a car and headed for Kenya, where his father had to face a difficult decision.

“The war is getting worse every day,” Dalmar’s father said to him. “I think you and your brother have to cross the border.” Unsure of what would happen next, Dalmar’s aunt welcomed these two brothers into her family while Dalmar’s parents returned to Mogadishu. “My aunt applied for our refugee status,” he says. “After three years in Kenya we emigrated to Holland.”

Life after Somalia

When Dalmar was in high school in Holland, his mother got very sick and passed away. “It was very bad when she died. I was always thinking that one day we’d be reunited and everything would just go back to how it used to be,” he explains. “I was doing so well in school. I wanted her to hear me speak Dutch. I wanted her to see me ice skate for the first time.”

My trouble with drinking started there,” he recalls. “Before I knew it, I’d lost myself. I was a functioning alcoholic.” Because alcohol was forbidden at home, he crafted lies to cover his behaviour.

At age 19, Dalmar wrecked his first car by drinking and driving. When his guardians confronted him about this, he lied and panicked. The next day he booked a flight to Toronto. “I called my family from Toronto and told them the truth. They were devastated,” he remembers. “They said, ‘Dalmar, this is not what you’re supposed to do! You’re running away!’ ”

“i was always running away”

Dalmar found it difficult to talk to his family, though he now realizes that he’d established a pattern that would follow him for years. “The secrets grew up,” he explains. “I went from hiding my drinking to wandering the streets of Toronto by myself. I didn’t want to tell anyone about my past. I had made a lot of bad decisions that I was ashamed of.” Dalmar was in Toronto for thirteen years before a meltdown lead him to Canada’s western coast: he was working as a truck driver when he got his second arrest for drinking and driving.

“I didn’t want to tell anyone about my past.”

Though his boss responded with compassion, Dalmar felt deep shame. Embarrassed, he left his job and bought a greyhound ticket to Vancouver. “It was the same thing I’d done in Holland,” Dalmar reflects. “I was always running away.”

“he’s telling my story”

After two weeks in Vancouver, Dalmar wandered into UGM for a cup of coffee. An outreach worker named Johnny was speaking during chapel. “He kept saying that we can’t run from our problems,” Dalmar remembers. “As I listened to him, I thought to myself: ‘He’s telling my story.’ I filled out an application for UGM’s Alcohol & Drug Recovery right away. I saw that this pattern would repeat itself forever if I didn’t.”

  • dalmar_baptism

    Dalmar holds a photo taken at his baptism with Pastor Dave at Coastal Church.

  • dalmar_photo_101

    In spring 2014, Dalmar worked as a paid sound assistant on UGM’s short documentary, Reflected Light. Here he is on the set!

  • dalmar-expeditions-4

    Throughout last year, Dalmar participated in UGM’s Expeditions program. Whether hiking Garibaldi Lake or BC’s 75km West Coast Trail, this goal-oriented wilderness program helps people make and maintain change in their own lives.

“If I knew what I learned here earlier,” Dalmar reflects, “I would have done recovery a long time ago. UGM fights addiction from the root. They don’t just ask people to stop using, but instead, try to find out why a person uses to see if they can help with that. Everyone working here was so helpful, so kind. There’s this sense of belonging and no sense of condemnation.”

“UGM fights addiction from the root. They don’t just ask people to stop using, but instead, try to find out why a person uses to see if they can help with that.”

Moving Forward in New Hope

“Before, I felt aimless and did whatever I wanted. Here, I decided to start to learn a little more about God.” Dalmar felt drawn to the compassion in Jesus’ story; it was a compassion that resonated with his feelings of shame. He started asking questions, seeking knowledge, and attending a church. “I saw that Jesus gave people grace,” he explains. “I decided to get baptized at Coastal Church.”

“I can see things clearly now and I see that the pattern has ended,” Dalmar says. “Today, I have a new life. I am so thankful for the donors, counsellors, and UGM staff who played a big role in my recovery. Now I understand what my part is, and what I need to do to move forward. I’m so grateful for this place and the people in it. Without them, I wouldn’t get another day to try.”


Dalmar holds a photo taken on his first day in A&D Recovery and marvels at the strides he’s made.

Contributions in Action

Here’s what donors like you made possible! Please click on a service to learn more about it:

  • 321,681

    meals served

    Every meal is a chance for trained Outreach Workers to connect with guests, offer a hand up, and point them towards UGM’s life-changing programs and services.

  • 3,947

    street toiletries kits distributed

    A street toiletries kit is full of essentials that someone sleeping on the streets might not have access to otherwise, such as toothpaste, a toothbrush, or necessary hygiene products.

  • 2,071

    connections made through ugm’s mobile mission

    UGM’s Mobile Mission travels into the farthest reaches of Metro Vancouver, offering relational connection and vital supplies to people sleeping outside.

  • 814

    referrals to detox, housing, recovery, and other services

    It takes a whole community to overcome poverty, so UGM helps guests connect with other vital service providers in the Downtown Eastside by providing referrals to essential aid.

  • 169

    christmas hampers to families and seniors in the neighbourhood

    Each hamper is put together with love and care, and hand delivered by UGM staff and volunteers to families and seniors in the community.

  • 415

    kids sponsored for
    a week at camp

    By giving children in need the chance to spend time outdoors, play, and make connections with camp counsellors, a week at summer camp has the power to change a life.

  • 93

    kids invested in by ugm’s children & youth workers

    From Eastsiders After School Care to Teen Boys and Girls, UGM provides mentorship, recreation, and evidence-based care to kids from grades one through twelve.

  • 28,483

    shelter beds provided

    Open 365 days a year, UGM’s Emergency Shelter provides a clean bed, access to UGM’s Case Managers, and an optional Bible study to 72 men each night.

  • 4,058

    visits to our clothing rooms

    Thanks to generous donations from donors like you, guests in UGM’s Cornerstone or Women & Families Centre can access winter clothing for protection and warmth.

Your Voice

Here’s a glimpse at the impact you made last year!

Since we couldn’t feed hope without you, it’s important that we know who you are, what matters to you, and why you give. It lets us know how UGM can thank you better. It gives voice to your values as you help us strengthen our services. So thanks to everyone who responded to last year’s survey! The results are in.

How many charities do you support financially?

More than 5: 36%

4 to 5: 26%

2 to 3: 33%

1: 5%

How old are you?

65 or Older: 42%

55 to 64: 28%

45 to 54: 18%

35 to 44: 7%

25 to 34: 4%

18 to 24: > 1%

Under 18: > 1%

What inspires you to give to UGM?

Providing Basic Needs for People: 32%


Receiving a
tax receipt


I, or someone I know, was helped by UGM


Seeing lives transformed


Giving back to my community


My faith

How do you like to donate to UGM or other charities?



By Phone: 5%

In Person: 5%

Other: 7%

By mail using
a Cheque: 20%

By mail using Credit Card: 15%

“I felt thanked & appreciated
after my last gift to UGM”


97% Agree

3% Disagree

Donations & Income



82.6% $14,162,095

  • 69.6% Annual Campaign
  • 13% Legacy Campaign

Other Income

17.4% $2,986,100

  • 13.9% Social Housing
  • 3.5% Thrift Store & Other Income

Expenses & Designated Funds


Programs, Services & Social Housing

74.3% $13,058,158

  • 42% Outreach & Recovery
  • 16.6% Housing
  • 10.7% Education & Engagement
  • 5.1% Other

Administration & Development

25.7% $4,513,188

  • 16.8% Fundraising & Development
  • 8.9% General & Administration

Thank You

Every year, you help people overcome poverty, homelessness, and addiction. Thank you for making a life-changing difference with Union Gospel Mission.