Press Release

Back to Media Centre

Media Inquiries

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

Union Gospel Mission to Serve 2500 Christmas Meals

Vancouver, B.C. — Christmas cheer wasn’t often on Mike Miller’s holiday menu. Instead of looking forward to a Christmas Dinner surrounded by family, Mike spent the holidays looking back on a year punctuated by homelessness, loneliness and despair.

“A lot of years at Christmas I was alone and thousands of miles from home,” says Miller. “Being surrounded by strangers and empty bottles was no consolation.”

Mike’s struggles began at just 10-years-old, when he was suddenly gripped by grief and anxiety following the abrupt separation of his parents. He soon began using alcohol to mask his feelings of pain, which escalated into a severe addiction through early adulthood. Mike felt powerless to overcome his struggle as addiction damaged his relationships, decimated his financial security, and deepened into homelessness. Desperate to “escape” his crumbling life, Mike arrived in Vancouver with just $9 in his pocket. He spent his first night in a newspaper dumpster, and although he was a trained chef by trade, soon found himself relying on UGM for meals to sustain his malnourished 133-pound frame.

“I’ll never forget my first meal at UGM,” says Mike. “The cooks really went out of their way to make their food robust and tasty, because they had a huge heart for people. I was pretty impressed by that.”

Drawn in by the support, Mike connected to UGM’s Drug and Alcohol Recovery Program and then, just before Christmas, was offered a job in the very kitchen that helped transform his life. Now, 23 years later, Mike is a Kitchen Supervisor at UGM, where he’ll help serve more than 2500 Christmas meals on Saturday December 7th, when UGM hosts its 79th Christmas Dinner.

“It’s a soul to soul thing, especially at Christmas,” says Miller. “Feeding someone with a meal that you have carefully prepared can have a profound effect.”

“Christmas can be the most crushing and hopeless season of the year for our homeless guests,” says UGM’s Rachael Allen. “This Christmas meal will offer celebration and community to others like Mike, who can then connect to our long-term programs and transform their lives.”

EVENT DETAILS
Date: December 7th, 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)

THE MEAL
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 apple pies
400 litres of ice cream

CONTACT
Rachael Allen
Union Gospel Mission
Cell: 778 886 9573
[email protected]

ABOUT UNION GOSPEL MISSION
Union Gospel Mission has been feeding hope and changing lives of men, women, youth, and children for more than 79 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.

Back to Media Centre