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UGM kicks off Homelessness Action Week with all-day Thanksgiving Dinner served to thousands on the Downtown Eastside

The Union Gospel Mission dining room will be a flurry of activity on Thanksgiving Monday, as the homeless, addicted and those struggling to make ends meet will be treated to a delicious turkey dinner with all the trimmings. UGM expects to serve some 3,000 people throughout the lower mainland—mainly in Vancouver but also in New Westminster, and Mission.

WHAT (Vancouver)
The sixth annual Homelessness Action Week (HAW) in Metro Vancouver is October 10 – 16 2011

Monday, October 10th (Thanksgiving Day)
Doors open at 10:00am, meals served at 10:30am until 4:00pm
Media are welcome to set up earlier, just connect with Keela if coming before 9:30am

Main location
601 East Hastings, Vancouver (@ Princess Street)

Other locations
UGM New Westminster: 33071 Railway Ave (doors open at noon)
UGM Mission: 658 Clarkson Street (doors open at noon)

THE MEAL – By the numbers
  •           170 turkeys (3,200 lbs)
  •           1,500 lbs of mashed potatoes
  •           900 lbs of vegetables
  •           900 lbs of stuffing
  •           70 gallons of gravy
  •           260 litres of cranberry sauce
  •           4,000 dinner rolls
  •           650 pumpkin pies
  •           300 litres of ice cream

UGM Senior Chaplain Bruce Curtiss explains that the meal is about more than just providing physical sustenance: “For many of our guests, this is a special time to celebrate and give thanks for what they do have, which is often very little. Over and over, we’ve seen Thanksgiving leading to hope, and hope inspiring courage, and courage – with friends to stand alongside – leading to transformed lives. But it all starts with this Thanksgiving meal, where we’re able to start fostering new relationships which can lead to changed lives through this very special day.”

UGM is part of the New Westminster Homelessness Coalition, which, every year raises public awareness of homelessness during Homelessness Actions Week ( On Wednesday, October 12th, UGM will participate in Homelessness Connect, a one-day event, where those in need in New Westminster can come to one central location and receive basic services, free of charge, all in the same place—everything from haircuts to medical support, massages to assistance with housing. About 20 services in total will be represented, and this takes place at Holy Trinity Cathedral, 514 Carnarvon Street. More information on New West HAW activities is available upon request.

Union Gospel Mission has been feeding hope and changing lives of men, women, youth, and children for nearly 70 years. Through its 9 locations in Metro Vancouver and the city of Mission, UGM provides counseling, education, safe housing, and alcohol and drug recovery to those struggling with poverty, homelessness, and addiction. The heart of the mission is to demonstrate God’s transforming love, ease the burden of the most vulnerable, rebuild the lives of the broken, and offer dignity to those who feel cast aside. UGM is a proud member of the Canadian Council of Christian Charities and the Association of Gospel Rescue Missions. To find out more, visit


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