UGM serves 4,000 Meals to Vancouver homeless and low-income families
A summer BBQ gives the Downtown Eastside an opportunity to celebrate.
The summer struggle runs deep for 26-year-old Louise. The survivor of childhood trauma, victim of violence, and single mother enjoyed the chance to celebrate summer, and melt the stress away.
“I have a lot of anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder,” says the Vancouver mother of two. “UGM’s Summer BBQ is a fun place for the kids to be. I feel safe.”
Separated from her own mother at just 3-years-old, Louise says creating special memories for her two children is crucial – especially living on a fixed income with limited means. Her family of three joined thousands of others July 13, when Union Gospel Mission hosted their Summer BBQ, its biggest event of the year. Some 4,000 meals were grilled for those who are homeless, at-risk of homelessness or those on low income. Families took advantage of other summer joys like face painting, bouncy castles, and a mini-carnival of games.
“Homelessness and poverty don’t take holidays during the summer,” says UGM’s Jeremy Hunka, who notes nearly 8 in 10 Downtown Eastside children grow up in poverty. “In the midst of financial stress or worry, our Summer BBQ brings a moment of relief and connects struggling people to long-term supports at UGM.”
The event is made possible by Rogers Sugar Vancouver of Lantic Inc., which operates just around the corner from UGM.
“The little things like this matter for families like mine,” says Louise. “It’s just a good day.”