UGM To Serve 3,000 Thanksgiving Meals
Vancouver, B.C. — Thanksgiving Monday meant very little to Jacki Stock. Instead of celebrating surrounded by family, she found herself homeless and in tears.
“I don't even know if there’s a word for homelessness,” says the 47-year-old. “Toward the end of my time on the streets I was crying every day...it was just a struggle.”
Jacki was born and raised in Port Moody, where she thrived at the beach and enjoyed time with her family. But everything changed when Jacki’s father died of a sudden heart attack when she was just 13. Jacki turned to drugs to numb the pain—sparking a struggle with addiction that spanned decades.
“Things were great for me and then, bang, he had a heart attack and died,” Jacki says. “Drugs were an escape…”
Jacki struggled against the powerful addiction that soon demanded every dollar she had, leading her into homelessness and further emotional pain. She found shelter wherever she could, camping out in the woods and under the Patterson Skytrain station. She separated from her children and absorbed the unjust shame so commonly directed at those experiencing homelessness. Until, just before Thanksgiving, Jacki found stability at UGM.
“I’d lost all hope...but UGM’s Sanctuary took away my worries,” she says. “I did not need candles for my heat or need to worry if my blankets were wet, or if it was going to rain, or those little things that everybody takes for granted that I struggled with every day.”
Now more than a year into sobriety, Jacki will celebrate this Thanksgiving in a new way. She’ll help serve up to 3,000 Thanksgiving meals on Monday, October 14th, when UGM welcomes thousands for a holiday meal they would otherwise go without.
“Jacki’s story is a beacon of hope during a time of record homelessness” says UGM’s Jeremy Hunka. “Hundreds will connect to UGM this holiday just like Jacki, and find long-term support that will transform their lives and help them exit homelessness.”
“I want people to know it is possible,” says Jacki. “You look at your life today and think, ‘how do I do it?’ By taking that first step and asking for help, because somebody will help you. And the rewards are endless.”
Date: Monday, October 14th, 2019
Time: Meals served 10:30 AM – 4:30 PM
Where: Main location: 601 East Hastings, Vancouver (@ Princess Avenue)
UGM New Westminster: 658 Clarkson Street (doors open at noon)
Note: Volunteers will be carving turkey in preparation on Thursday morning. Media are welcome to attend. Please RSVP to Jeremy Hunka.
2000 lbs of turkey (the equivalent of 130 turkeys)
800 lbs. of mashed potatoes
700 lbs. of vegetables
800 lbs. of stuffing
300 litres of gravy
260 litres of cranberry sauce
3600 dinner rolls (300 dozen)
600 pumpkin pies
400 litres of ice cream
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.