Union Gospel Mission in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside gears up for annual Easter meal

The Union Gospel Mission (UGM) in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside is gearing up for its annual Easter meal Saturday.

The UGM says it’s preparing to serve around 2,500 meals to people experiencing homelessness and poverty.

The organization says the goal is to help nourish people in need, with the meals consisting of ham, scalloped potatoes, vegetables, and apple pies.

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The meal will come just days after the City of Vancouver began once again dismantling an encampment along East Hastings Street.

“We know how particularly difficult things have been for many of our community members,” Dean Kurpjuweit, the UGM’s president, said.

“It’s just so great to know that we can create a space and a meal that lets people know how cared for they are after the really tough week, and month, and years that we had in our community,” the UGM’s Nicole Mucci added. “Our space is open, it’s warm and welcoming. People know that they can come exactly as they are. If they have been displaced, they are still a member of our community, we still care for them.”

The UGM says the Easter meal may not be a “magic solution” for those needing housing but it’s important to have safe spaces for communities to gather during trying times.

The UGM has been serving the Downtown Eastside for 80 years and is on its 33rd Easter meal.

This year, it will be held on Saturday, April 8, starting at 11 a.m. at 601 East Hastings and the UGM Women & Facilities Centre on East Cordova. At New Westminster, meals will be served at the New Westminster Resource Centre on Clarkston Street at noon.

with files from OMNI News.

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