UGM To Serve 2500 Easter Meals
(Vancouver) – Sandra’s Easter wish was simple: an Easter egg hunt with her grandchildren and a dinner surrounded by family. But instead of celebrating the holiday, Sandra was on the brink of homelessness.
“I was driven by anxiety–alone and hopeless,” says the 55-year-old Maple Ridge woman. “I suffered from a lot of guilt and shame. It made my stomach turn.”
Sandra’s pain took root at the age of six, when she was unjustly robbed of her childhood through repeated abuse. Just a child, Sandra was afraid to speak up—and instead, suppressed the memories. In a desperate attempt to numb the anguish, she turned to alcohol at thirteen, later burying the trauma beneath cocaine. It wasn’t until 20 years later, long after she married and had children, that the memories re-emerged in a terrifying and unexpected flashback.
“On a cocaine weekend–coming down off of it¬–I went to have a bath. I went to step in that bathtub and I just lost my mind. I knew something traumatic had happened in a bathtub. I crumbled and I was screaming. The memories from my childhood—wham. They whammed me.”
Sandra’s life spiraled even further. The mental breakdown was followed by a breast cancer diagnosis, double mastectomy, and chemo. She turned to drugs again to mask the pain, mortgaging her home to pay for her $500 daily habit–a burden which led her to attempt suicide. She eventually lost her husband, her house, and relationships with her children. It wasn’t until Easter weekend, two years ago, that things changed: when her family refused to invite Sandra to Easter Dinner because of her ongoing addiction.
“That was my turning point. I went to a walk-in mental health clinic, bawled by head off to a counsellor, and told her I needed help.”
Desperate to reunite with her family, Sandra was referred to Union Gospel Mission’s recovery program for women in Mission, called Lydia Home, and began unpacking the pain and trauma behind her trials. Now, Sandra is reunited with her family and will help serve 2,500 Easter meals on Saturday, April 20th when UGM opens its doors to others in need.
“Sandra exemplifies the true meaning of Easter: redemption and renewal,” says UGM President Bill Mollard. “This Easter, she’ll inspire thousands of others who will come to UGM for an Easter meal they may otherwise go without, connecting to life-saving services which will pave the way to new life–just like Sandra.”
Date: Saturday, April 20th, 2019
Time: Meals served 10:30 AM – 4:30 PM
Where: Main location: 601 East Hastings, Vancouver (@ Princess)
UGM New Westminster: 658 Clarkson Street (doors open at noon)
• 1500 lbs of ham
• 800 lbs of scalloped potatoes
• 260 litres of pineapple sauce
• 700 lbs of mixed vegetables
• 575 apple pies
• 325 litres of ice cream
• 275 dozen buttered buns
Senior PR Specialist, Union Gospel Mission
Cell: (604) 996-1417
ABOUT UNION GOSPEL MISSION
Union Gospel Mission has been feeding hope and changing lives of men, women, youth, and children for more than 78 years. Through its seven 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 the mission is to demonstrate God’s transforming love, ease the burden of the most vulnerable, rebuild lives and offer dignity to those who feel cast aside. To learn more, visit www.ugm.ca.