Union Gospel Mission serves 80th Annual Christmas Dinner

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VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – It will be a busy day at Mission Union Gospel this Saturday, as the Downtown Eastside institution rolls out its 80th annual Christmas dinner.
UGM should serve about 1,400 meals, which is about half the size of their regular Christmas meal.

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Institution spokeswoman Nicole Mucci told NEWS 1130 that this year’s Christmas dinner comes at a difficult time for the Downtown Eastside.

“It’s been a pretty tough year, I think for everyone, as we’ve all experienced what this pandemic means to each of us in different ways,” Mucci said.

“And our community that experiences homelessness, addiction and poverty has been hit particularly hard this year. If you add the pandemic on top of the opioid crisis – which is killing more people than we’ve ever seen – and continued cold… We must have had a day like today, and a weekend like this week. -end, where we can celebrate hope and look forward to, hope 2021 will bring good things. ”

This year, the UGM was forced to work with reduced staff and volunteers due to COVID.

Christmas meals will be served in biodegradable containers to take away at staggered hours. And meals will also be distributed to those queuing in front of the doors of the UGM.

“We make sure that all of our staff and limited volunteers are fully equipped with PPE,” Mucci said. “We’re doing whatever we can to keep people safe with masks on and really making sure things are super clean, and we’re helping to make sure people are social distanced, and by just putting that attention, that thought and this due process in every step we take. , which is in the end what will keep people safe.

The UGM will serve 1,300 pounds of turkey, 350 pounds of mashed potatoes, 160 liters of sauce, 350 pounds of vegetables, cranberry sauce and “really delicious pies”.

“We also created a small gift bag that contains super warm socks, a traditional Christmas orange, chocolate and a bottle of water,” added Mucci. “Everything will be distributed in easy to carry on-the-go bags for our customers so they know they are loved and appreciated, and we care about them this Christmas, like every other Christmas, and every other day. of the year. ”

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