Press Release

Back to Media Centre

Media Inquiries

For all media inquiries, please contact Nadia Tchoumi, Manager – Media Relations and Communications, at 604 996 1417 or [email protected]


UGM To Serve 1400 Thanksgiving Meals Despite COVID-19 Delta Fourth Wave

(Vancouver, B.C.) – Janice Szostak won’t let COVID fatigue exhaust her efforts to give back to the Downtown Eastside community that means the world to her. 

“I’ve been in that line before. I’ve needed a meal, and I’ve needed hope” Janice shares. “That’s why I am here - I want to give back, give people a chance to see that life can get better.” 

An alumna of UGM’s Sanctuary stabilization program, Szostak now works at Union Gospel Mission. Janice has a creative flair, a caring heart and a drive to connect. She uses her talents as a Repair to Wear staff member, where she teaches women how to sew and repair garments. Janice’s life wasn’t easy - as a child she faced enormous abuse at the hands of her mother. In an attempt to find relief, Janice’s use of alcohol and drugs quickly spiralled into an addiction that eventually robbed her of her home, her children, and her hope. Now living a recovery centred life, Janice wants to share her story and help serve hundreds of Thanksgiving Meals on Saturday, October 9th, to others struggling with homelessness, poverty and addiction.

“Things can get better,” says Szostak. “I’m committed to making people feel valuable - and I’ll be doing that on Thanksgiving, just like I do everytime I come to work.”

In line with UGM’s pandemic plan, the organization has completely changed how it serves major meals during COVID-19. Meals continue to be served in to-go containers by a limited number of staff and volunteers following safety protocols. 

“We know that our community - both those experiencing homelessness and addiction, and those serving on the frontlines, are exhausted.” says UGM’s Nadia Tchoumi. “This Thanksgiving meal provides us all an opportunity to feel hope for the future, and gratitude for the good that has happened this year, despite the enormous amount of loss and pain. We’re all in this together.”


Date:             Saturday, October 9th 2021
Time:            Media wishing to attend are asked to arrive no later than 10:25am
Where:         601 East Hastings, Vancouver (@ Princess), following pandemic safety protocols including:

  • Please RSVP to [email protected] before arriving
  • Upon arrival at 601 E Hastings, please do not enter the UGM building. Instead, please set up on the West side of Princess Street, near the picnic tables, where interviews will be conducted. We’ll be there to greet you! 
  • Thanksgiving Meals will be served ‘to go’ through the drop-in doors. We respectfully ask you to adhere to physical distancing recommendations to protect and respect our community members.


  • 1200 lbs of Turkey
  • 400 lbs Mashed Potatoes
  • 160 l Gravy 
  • 400 lbs Vegetables
  • Cranberry sauce
  • 285 Pies


Nicole Mucci
Media Communications Specialist
Cell: (778) 999-3985
[email protected] 

Nadia Tchoumi
Media Communications Manager
Cell: 604-996-1417
[email protected] 

Union Gospel Mission has been feeding hope and changing the lives of men, women, youth, and children for more than 80 years. Through its eight locations in Metro Vancouver and the city of Mission, UGM provides emergency shelter, meals, outreach, career development counselling, education, safe and affordable housing, addiction recovery, and much more to those struggling with poverty, homelessness and addiction. The heart of UGM is to demonstrate God’s transforming love, ease the burden of those who are vulnerable, and come alongside people who feel cast aside. To learn more, visit


Union Gospel Mission acknowledges with humble gratitude that our sites are located on the traditional unceded lands of the Musqueam, Squamish, Tsleil-Waututh, Katzie, Kwantlen, Qayqayt and the Sto:lo First Nations


Back to Media Centre