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Union Gospel Mission to serve more than 3,000 Thanksgiving meals: Dinner provides hope and potential pathway to healing

Vancouver, B.C.—Darrell always struggled between two competing sources of inclusion and acceptance: alcohol and music. The two paths were in constant conflict.

“Unfortunately when the booze takes over the instrument goes in the case and the dream too,” says Darrell. Though a talented musician and successful at a well-paying bank job, Darrell saw his life unravel over years of addiction and reckless partying.

“I burned my whole apartment down,” he says. “I’m not sure if I did it, or the people I was partying with that night. But I fell asleep in the bathroom and I remember the fire alarm going off. Somehow I woke up to the fire alarm and a fire going on. And still, the drinking continued!”

Darrell’s downward spiral continued until he found himself in Vancouver’s DTES, living in an SRO riddled with bed bugs and cockroaches and struggling to feed himself with his social assistance checks. That is when a friend told him he could get meals at Union Gospel Mission.

“All these things were crashing and burning around me,” recalls Darrell.

Thankfully, he began making UGM meals a constant part of his routine and realized something needed to change. He sought out UGM staff, who admitted him to the Alcohol & Drug Recovery program. Thanks to the relationship with UGM, which started with that first meal, Darrell is now employed, sober and is even rediscovering his musical roots - recently recording this song and donating partial proceeds to UGM’s addiction and recovery programs:

“It is my hope that this song brings a message of hope to the multitudes struggling with addiction,” says Darrell.

This Thanksgiving, 3,000 meals will be added to the more than 10 million meals Union Gospel Mission has served in its 75 years of service. For many, like Darrell, the meal could be the first step in a journey of hope and recovery.



Date:             Monday, October 12, 2015
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)


  • 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



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

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