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For all media inquiries, please contact Jeremy Hunka, Senior Public Relations Specialist, at 604 996 1417 or [email protected].

Union Gospel Mission To Serve 3,000 Christmas Dinners

Vancouver man battles back after 12-years of homeless holidays

(Vancouver) – Lloyd Major’s Christmas Dinner usually came from a dumpster. Living on the street for a staggering 12 years, the Vancouver man’s holiday season consisted of cashing out bottles, crack cocaine, and solitude under the Knight Street Bridge.

“Christmas was a really tough time, that was heart-wrenching,” says the 53-year-old. “To be by yourself Christmas Day and nobody is around…that was a really lonely feeling.”

Born and raised in East Vancouver, Lloyd flourished in trade work as a young man and excelled at Kung Fu. But a penchant for partying led Lloyd to drugs, which evolved into a $150 daily habit and eventually homelessness. Daily life disintegrated into dumpster diving, stealing and selling scrap metal for drug money, and occasional visits from Union Gospel Mission Outreach Workers. Finally, after more than a decade on the street, Lloyd’s few homeless friends left their makeshift camp under the bridge, leaving Lloyd alone and feeling abandoned.

“All of a sudden it hit me, ‘Oh no, am I going to be dying from loneliness here?’” says Major. “At 52-years-old I’m crying out to God, ‘I need you man, I don’t know what to do! I’m all alone in my little house made out of a tarp.’ That night I cried myself to sleep.”

In desperation – and the month before Christmas ­– Lloyd left his tarp and boarded the bus for Union Gospel Mission, where he enrolled in UGM’s Drug and Alcohol Recovery Program. Now more than one year sober, he will serve hope to thousands of others when UGM hosts its annual Christmas Dinner on Saturday, December 10th.

“Lloyd is proof that being homeless is never hopeless – especially at Christmastime,” says UGM President Bill Mollard. “The holidays are an especially lonely time for those on the streets and many, like Lloyd, will take the opportunity to ask for help. They’ll connect to our life changing supports, whether that be addiction recovery, housing support, or more.”

“A big Christmas Dinner will give [the homeless] some dignity for Christmas; it can make them feel like they are still worth something,” says Lloyd. “Without UGM I would be done. I don’t know about dead, but I would be stuck out there all alone again…now life is so good I can hardly believe this is happening.”

EVENT DETAILS

Date:               Saturday, December 10th
Time:              Meals served 10:30 AM – 4:30 PM
Where:          Main location: 601 East Hastings, Vancouver (@ Princess)
Secondary locations: Women and Families Centre 616 East Cordova,
UGM New Westminster: 658 Clarkson Street (doors in New West open at noon)

THE MEAL

  • 2500 lbs. of turkey
  • 800 lbs. of mashed potatoes
  • 700 lbs. of vegetables
  • 800 lbs. of stuffing
  • 300 litres of gravy
  • 260 litres of cranberry sauce
  • 3900 dinner rolls (375 dozen)
  • 600 cherry pies
  • 400 litres of ice cream

CONTACT

Jeremy Hunka
Senior PR Specialist, Union Gospel Mission
Cell: (604) 996-1417
[email protected]

ABOUT UNION GOSPEL MISSION

Union Gospel Mission has been feeding hope and changing lives of men, women, youth, and children for 75 years. Through its seven locations in Metro Vancouver and the city of Mission, UGM provides meals, emergency shelter, counseling, education, chaplaincy, safe housing and alcohol & 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 lives and offer dignity to those who feel cast aside. To learn more, visit www.ugm.ca.

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