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Union Gospel Mission to serve 3,000 Christmas Dinners

Vancouver, B.C.— For Jeff Parsons, Christmas was seldom a celebration. Instead of holiday feasts and family, Christmas meant crack cocaine.

“My life was a mess, there were times I didn’t even want to live anymore,” says Parsons. “Drugs had beaten me down.”

With an addiction controlling his life, Parsons hit rock bottom seven years ago. He had lost his job, his apartment and his hope. His life was hanging in the balance.

“I was sleeping on the streets. I didn’t have blankets at times,” he says. “I remember waking up that Christmas in front of the theatre on Granville, there was a lot of water and snow on the ground and all I had were ragged shoes, sweatpants and a t-shirt.”

That Christmas, feeling “lonely, scared, cold and hungry” propelled Parsons to the doors of Union Gospel Mission. He was given a meal along with shelter and was soon admitted into UGM’s recovery program. Today he is steadily employed, dedicated to his family and about to celebrate his seventh anniversary of sobriety. What’s more, he’ll be spending the holidays in a warm apartment with his daughter.

“This place saved my life, literally,” says Parsons. “I look back sometimes and wonder, ‘Where would I be today?’ Possibly dead. UGM gave me an opportunity to look at life differently. It gave me a better life and made me a better person.”

On December 5th thousands of people, many with stories similar to Parsons, will celebrate Christmas together as UGM serves its 75th Annual Christmas Dinner. Many will walk into UGM for a meal and walk out, months later, with a new life.

 

EVENT DETAILS

 

Date:              Saturday, December 5th
Time:             Meals served 10:30 AM – 4:30 PM
Where:          Main location: 601 East Hastings, Vancouver (@ Princess Street)
Secondary locations: Women and Families Centre 616 East Cordova, UGM New Westminster: 658 Clarkson Street (doors open at noon)
Extra:           A choir of Christmas Carolers will usher in UGM’s Christmas guests, singing Christmas carols throughout the morning at our Hastings location

THE MEAL

  • 2500 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
  • 3900 dinner rolls (375 dozen)
  • 600 pumpkin pies
  • 400 litres of ice cream

 

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 counselling, 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 lives and offer dignity to those who feel cast aside. To learn more, visit www.ugm.ca.

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