Union Gospel Mission To Serve 3,000 Easter Meals
Easter Dinner provides potential pathway out of poverty, homelessness and addiction
Vancouver, B.C — Easter is far more than a holiday to Chad Sluys. Easter marks the moment the 40-year-old musician walked away from homelessness and addiction.
“I was what I considered a garbage can,” Chad says. “Whatever drug it was, I would do.”
Chad grew up with a loving family and rounded education. While succeeding as a carpenter and sheet metal mechanic, he was also a gifted musician. But as his bands toured, temptation and trouble took hold. Eventually, ‘sex, drugs and rock n’ roll’ led Chad deep into the Downtown Eastside drug scene.
“Ten years of non-stop partying got to the point where I quit my bands and I quit everything else,” he says. “It was all about the drinks and the drugs…It got bad enough that I pushed a shopping cart around all night to collect bottles to get enough money for booze and drugs in the morning…I would push that cart for kilometers and kilometers…”
But everything changed in 2009 when the Alberta native found himself doing heroin in a Downtown Eastside alley. For the first time, the drug seemed to have no effect on Chad’s body; he didn’t get high, he felt no buzz. Startled, Chad staggered towards Union Gospel Mission, where he knew he could get a meal and shelter. He broke down in tears on the corner and was shortly greeted by a UGM outreach worker. Just in time for Easter, Chad entered UGM’s addiction recovery program. He is now 7 years sober, steadily employed and rediscovering his musical passion - playing guitar in several bands and recently opening a recording studio.
“Without UGM I might very well be dead and that’s a cold hard fact,” says Chad. “I didn’t trust anyone and that little bit of trust that I built with one person (at UGM) was the key.”
“Chad’s story is a striking example of the transformation unfolding at Union Gospel Mission every day,” says UGM President Bill Mollard. “This Easter we’ll have dozens walk through our doors for a meal only to walk out months later with a new life.”
DATE: Saturday, March 26th;
TIME: Doors open at 10:00am, meals served at 10:30am until 4:30pm
WHERE: Main location: 601 East Hastings, Vancouver (@ Princess Street),
Women and Families Centre: 616 East Cordova,
UGM New Westminster: 658 Clarkson St. (doors open at noon)
- 2,500 lbs of ham
- 900 lbs of scalloped potatoes
- 270 litres of pineapple sauce
- 750 lbs of mixed vegetables
- 600 apple pies
- 400 litres of ice cream
- 350 dozen buttered buns
Senior PR Specialist, 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 75 years. Through its seven locations in Metro Vancouver and the city of Mission, UGM provides shelter, counselling, education, safe housing and addiction 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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