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UGM’s 24th annual Easter celebration: Charity prepares to serve 3,000 holiday meals to the Downtown Eastside community

Vancouver, BC—Providing a holiday meal to a community where so few are connected to their families and only a small amount have means to cook, makes a bigger impact than most people realize. On Saturday, March 30, 2013, Union Gospel Mission will serve up its 24th annual Easter celebration to the Downtown Eastside community where over 3,000 meals are expected to be served by volunteers amidst music and family-style festivities. 
To an outsider, the event looks mainly like a way to provide a delicious hearty meal—and it is—but underneath it’s so much more. While UGM provides much needed tangible help like food, shelter and clothing, it’s the intangibles like hope, community and support that transform those struggling in their current state, to one that’s richer, more independent and sustainable. 
Laura is an example of such success. Since coming to UGM last year, she’s developed her own independence and built up a community that has helped her overcome homelessness and take big steps forward in life. 
These gradual steps were centered on meeting regularly with a group of UGM guests for a coffee, treats and conversation in UGM’s Cornerstone Centre. Trust and friendship developed among her new friends, so when Laura announced to them in January that she had found a place to live, they all volunteered to help her move in.
“No one in the group had a vehicle, but all were determined to help Laura move into her home—and they did, without the help of any outreach workers,” says Andrea Wiens, UGM Outreach Worker. “The crew banned together and before we knew it, Laura was moved into her own home. She had overcome homelessness, and it all started with a safe space that allowed for community and friendship to form.”
Special meals like the one this Easter bring joy, hope and a network of resources that are often the building blocks to making lasting and permanent change. 
“By providing a safe space for community to be formed and strengthened, we are able to watch vulnerable people open up and ask others for help as feelings of hope and safety are restored to them,” says Bruce Curtiss, UGM’s Senior Chaplain. “Being able to stand back and witness this transformation, to see community members helping community members, is evidence that when a meal is among friends and family, it is never just about food.”
Summary Details
When:
Saturday, March 30, 2013; 10:30am – 4:30pm (doors open at 10:00 am)
Where: 
Main: 
Union Gospel Mission: 601 East Hastings (corner of Princess and Hastings)
Other: 
Union Gospel Mission Women and Families Centre: 616 East Cordova 
Union Gospel Mission New Westminster: 658 Clarkson Street (Doors open at noon)
Good Visuals Prior:
The hams will be carved by Vancouver Culinary Students on Thursday, March 28 from 8:45am – 11:00am 
Menu:
3,000 lbs of ham
900 lbs of scalloped potatoes
270 litres of pineapple sauce
750 lbs of mixed vegetables
700 apple pies
560 litres of ice cream
400 dozen buttered buns
Contact: 
Keela Keeping
PR Specialist, Union Gospel Mission
Office: (604) 215-5445 ext. 359
Cell: (604) 996-1417
About UGM:
Union Gospel Mission has been feeding hope and changing the lives of men, women, and children for over 70 years. Through its 8 locations in Metro Vancouver, 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. To find out more, visit www.ugm.ca.
20/03/2013
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