Dot Com Lunch at Union Gospel Mission Soup Kitchen


With the US dollar in the toilet, my buying power isn’t what it used to be. Let’s face it, $20K US a month just doesn’t get you very far in the most expensive city in Canada. As a matter of fact, things have gotten so bad, we ended up dining at a soup kitchen for the homeless! From $60 burgers to a free lunch at the Union Gospel Mission. How humbling is that?

The Union Gospel Mission cares for the hungry, hurting and homeless of Greater Vancouver. Founded in 1940 as a small soup kitchen, UGM now has satellite facilities in Surrey, New Westminster, Mission and downtown Vancouver, and provides services from employment training to affordable housing solutions. UGM serves over 280,000 meals each year, and provides shelter for almost 10,000 individuals a year. Because of contributions to the them in the past, UGM invited us to have lunch on them and take a tour of their facilities.


The Mission is located in the poorest neighborhood in all of Canada, the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, and serves as a beacon of hope for the homeless and hungry. UGM offers drug and alcohol recovery programs, community outreach, low-cost thrift stores, and emergency meals, shelter and clothing.


Union Gospel Mission’s Lorene Vernon and Kevan Gilbert showed us around the entire UGM facilities. It’s much bigger than I thought and includes a drop-in centre, thrift store and an affordable housing complex.




Free Lunch at the Union Gospel Mission


Clockwise from left to right: Michael Kwan, Ed Lau, Kevan Gilbert, Stephen Fung, John Chow, Greg Morgan, and Danny Chang.

For a soup kitchen for the homeless, the food at the UGM was pretty good. I would say almost too good. A homeless person may wish to remain a homeless person if this is what he can eat for free everyday. Stephen ate the most. He ate so much I’m afraid the UGM may not have anything left when the kitchen opens its doors to the people waiting outside.

The House Where I Grew Up


Union Gospel Mission is located at 616 East Cordova Street, which is just across the street from the house where I grew up. Yes, I grew up in the poorest neighborhood in all of Canada. To my amazement, the house is still there. I should buy it and turn it into a safe house or something.

Help Me Raise Money for The UGM Thanksgiving Dinner


Thanksgiving is just around the corner and the UGM needs your help to provide hot Thanksgiving meals and other life-changing services to hungry, hurting and homeless men, women and children in Vancouver. The UGM is an organization that I support and I’m asking you to join me in helping to feed the hungry this Thanksgiving. A complete meal cost only $2.59. This is an amount I believe we can all afford.

I Will Match Your Donation

I will personally match every dollar donated by the John Chow dot Com community up to a maximum of $1000.00. Simply make a donation at UGM’s online donation page, then email me a copy of the email receipt. Feel free to leave a comment about your donation as well.

All readers making donations will be recognized in a blog post this Friday. If you have a website or blog, I will link to it. I grew up in the Downtown Eastside. I did not come from money. I am where I am today because I know that in order to receive any blessings in life, you must first give. The more you give, the more you will receive. The meals and other services we provide can be the start of a new life and new beginning for those in need. Let’s show the Union Gospel Mission that the John Chow dot Com community cares.

97 thoughts on “Dot Com Lunch at Union Gospel Mission Soup Kitchen”

  1. Michael Kwan says:

    I like how this post is categorized under “fine dining.” I too was very impressed with the food offered in the soup kitchen. I’m still full!

    And you mispelled my name! I’ll fix it myself.

    1. I just hope 10 people will enjoy the food just as you did for the thanks giving day with my donation.

      I was about to buy a service that was the price of 10 meals pretty much, but I think i can extend the service to the next month. Those money go to UGM for this month. Donated.

      1. DeboHobo says:

        Quit frontin’ you know you still live there.

  2. well i think you should dedicate aleast one month of earning to cherity wht do you guys think lets start a vote of we get 100 yes i think john chow will do it. your’s truly

    1. John Chow says:

      What makes you think I don’t already?

      1. Chino Yray says:

        because you haven’t posted it directly like.. saying… “every month a part of my income will go to UGM”

        Although… I think you don’t need to do that anymore.

        1. I think alexander was referring to donate a whole month income not a part of the income monthly. John said he had donated $1000 in the past and as far as i understood he was going to donate another $1000 (correct me if I am wrong).

          1. According to MingPao, John Chow donated all 2006’s earning. :mrgreen:

          2. Thats even much much better.

      2. Israel says:

        Do ya? Well, Do ya?

      3. Mr. Rajawang says:

        how tall are you John? you are the tallest in the pic!

  3. Stephen says:

    I was totally surprised at how good John’s behaviour was. I was half expecting to get the beat down just by association πŸ˜†

    It was a really great experience. I had no idea the homeless were fed so well.

  4. Shawn Knight says:

    Excellent charity. I know you have been working with them for a while, as I donated back in April for their Easter meal. I’ll be emailing you a receipt soon πŸ™‚

  5. Justin says:

    Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday! Donated.

    1. Casey says:

      Mine too! That’s why I donated as well.

  6. Great idea! I donated last year too. Will email you receipt.

  7. krillz says:

    I assume you took the taxi down? If not, I would like to hear whose car got stolen πŸ˜›

  8. Jacob says:

    Sending you money right now.

  9. WizCoder says:

    The food looks good. They could turn it into a paying restaurant and make money for the homeless.

  10. Teejay says:

    Yep. The restaurant business would be great.

  11. WizCoder says:

    Why limit the max at $1000? Isn’t that a bit too little? I assume its all Canadian dollars.

    1. John Chow says:

      I tell you what. If you want to donate more than $1,000, I’ll match you. 😎

      1. WizCoder says:

        😳 Now I have till Friday to find that $1000.

        1. Chino Yray says:

          lol. you just got your big mouth/fingers whammed by John.

        2. lyricsreg says:

          Good luck, big mouth πŸ™‚

      2. krillz says:

        lucky he didn’t come up with a million dollars or something, that would have been embarrassing πŸ˜›

    2. Canadian dollars is greater than USD now!

  12. Neil Duckett says:

    A good charity by the looks of things. Well done on supporting those who need it the most.

  13. Hey John i think you can be a preacher man πŸ˜‰ you got the words man. I just made a donation for $25.90 CAD.
    I will email you the receipt in a jiffy.

    Michael Boateng

  14. Well done John, finally a good blogging cause…
    I have tried to do more or less the same (convince people to give what they don’t need) in Ireland for many years, If we can all do the same, what a better palce the world would be for all of us and our grandchrildren. Good luck with your Canadian Cause.

    1. krillz says:

      sadly there are always people who would use it, to scam others.

  15. Looks like a pretty good feed

  16. Softsled says:


    I am happy to support a charity like this. How do we forward our receipt to you? I don’t think it’s possible using your contact page.

  17. Kevan G. says:

    Hey John,
    Fantastic post. It was great to have the seven of you come by today. Thanks so much for starting up the pledge-matching idea. Also, Sarah took some great shots.

    Just to clarify, the meal we ate is not the same meal that the homeless folks lining up outside will eat. As the guests from the street come in, they get to enjoy a bowl of soup, a sandwich, salad, a pastry and some coffee. The meals that we ate are geared towards the residents of our alcohol and drug recovery program — hence the emphasis on hearty and nutritious food.

  18. Lincoln says:

    I love seeing posts like this. :mrgreen:

  19. Stefanie says:

    Yahoo! I donated and am very excited for a link from John Chow!

  20. Gdog says:

    Damn, sounds like you guys had some good grub…for free! Hmmm…I know where the next Dot Com Pho should be… :mrgreen: Donation made! πŸ˜€

    1. Michael Kwan says:

      Nice post! I think it’d be great if you managed to raise that money in three days.

  21. James says:

    I think it is cool to see how successful you have become starting from that house.

  22. Karol Krizka says:

    Sent right now, should I sent the receipt through your contact form?

      1. I sent through the contact form, should I forward it to that email instead?

  23. Hey John,

    Great to know that you are a guy with heart, where you give your time and money for those that in need.
    I’ve worked with a charity close to my heart and my country of origin Philippines. GK777.

    Keep up the good work.

    Carlo Selorio

  24. You should put do some more charity work/posts.

  25. Tyler Ingram says:

    I donated to help feed 10 people =-) Who’s will to match or beat me?
    Yea its not a big donation but I’m limited in my funds…every bit helps right!

  26. Grigory says:

    As for me- charity is the most blessed mankind performance.

  27. I donated some money. Good initiative, John. I also like your crew that you roll with… which one is your bodyguard? :mrgreen:

  28. Dandruff says:

    Your post is very good. I feel it is a must for every human being to donate some amount of their earning to such homes and poor people. It’s we who have come out of scratch we know the value of money and we can put it to proper use.
    Great job John. I guess keep doing such things and keep writing about it from time to time to remind us all that we too need to help others in some form or the other.

  29. Israel says:

    will donate. this is the sort of place i come from myself.

  30. Mystery says:

    John, is your friend in a fraternity, or is that an honorary society shirt?

    1. John Chow says:

      Which friend are you referring to?

      1. Bob says:

        I believe he is referring to Danny Chang in the Lamba phi Epsilon shirt.

  31. Etienne Teo says:

    will throw in some geez! great post and good work to drive charity.. πŸ˜‰

  32. Very nice post! There arent many people in this world doing things like this, once they hit the market with something.

  33. Nice post and great sentiment. I’ve just donated.

  34. CKacey says:

    You know you’ve made it to the “big time” when you start being philanthropic. I’m watching a “work in progress,” you- John Chow, and it is fascinating.
    Thank You for all that your’re doing.

  35. Lisa Rae says:

    This is a very cool idea. I sponsor a 15 year old girl from South America. I’ll probably pitch in a little bit later today, and email the receipt.

  36. Lisa Rae says:

    Good post! I’ll be donating soon. I hope this doesn’t duplicate, because I posted earlier an my computer froze.

  37. Limitless says:

    Good work John! We will donate as soon as Possible! ,)

  38. This revives my hope for mankind. The UGH deserve all the help they can get and I am also very happy that you will match whatever people donate. You will shortly be getting information about that. Thanks for bringing this wonderful information to us. GBY. ( God Bless You )

  39. iBT says:

    that is bad part of city? man..wake up America..should see bad part of US Cities..anyway..I will make some donation..before $$ goes worthless.

    1. DG says:

      I’m in for 100 people. Let’s make John hurt! πŸ™‚

  40. Donation made. Reciept Sent.

    Any chance of you visiting NYC or something? I am in the area and would love to show you around and discuss some ideas.

    1. John Chow says:

      I don’t have any plans to visit NYC this year. But maybe next year.

  41. Ooh nice. $2.49 for a link on John Chow’s site!

    1. It’s $2.59
      I think most people will donate more than that! :mrgreen:

  42. Marco says:

    Great way to give back to the community John! πŸ™‚ Just donated too.

  43. lilian says:

    John, I have mailed the receipt from PayPal using your contact form by copy and paste. 10 persons. And for once, I think I like John Chow. :mrgreen:

  44. Mr. Rajawang says:

    ‘ receive any blessings in life, you must first give’ I have heard of this from a chinese proverbs and I think it’s TRUE! πŸ˜€

  45. soccer dvd says:

    john not evil 😈 today

    we’re all proud of your good cause dude

  46. Hi John
    A very touching and moving article. But you’re a sneaky devil….. :mrgreen:
    Those photos were so good that one couldn’t help but use the PayPal account to participate. I guess a lot of the blog readers feel the same, and however small each amount may be, when added up, it all becomes a considerable amount.
    Good luck on the dinners etc. πŸ™‚

  47. Ryan says:

    Nice job, John. Its nice to see you take a portion of you blog to highlight the needs of the needy.

  48. Kevan G. says:

    Hello again John;
    Doing our best to remain attentive to our supporter’s needs, we’ve made a few changes to our donation page:
    1. You can now donate a custom amount over PayPal, instead of being restricted to one of the pre-written options, and…
    2. In the “How did you hear about the Mission?” drop-down menu, you’ll find “John Chow” and “Around the web” as one of the selections.

    Thanks again,
    – kevan

  49. Hey John,
    I’ve been reading your blog for 3 months now and think this is a great thing to do! I made a donation of $25.90, and hope alot of others help support the cause! I myself understand that it is great to be more pleased in life than others, and feel it’s important to help out those when they are down as much too our ability. I’d like to mention I’ve been an active loaner with them for about a year now. You can see my lender page here: Hope my small donation makes an impact!

  50. Man that sounded like a very humbling experience for you. I would think that with a great income such as yours, things would be easy there. I would scream if I had to pat $60 for a burger. Over here it is only $2 for a good burger. I really did not know the fall of the US dollar was so bad.

  51. That’s really a great thing you’re doing. When you have a lot, it’s great that you seem to be giving back a lot.

    A great illustration is the Dead sea. It does nothing but takes in streams and has no out ward streams. As a result everything in it dies. A healthy lake is one that has both an inflow and outflow.

    Great job. :mrgreen:

  52. Finaly something here what is not evil at all. So John you have also other side… That is realy good πŸ˜›

    1. I knew he had it in him. lol

  53. Excellent photos collection. I love eating. So i am 80 kgs

  54. Lisa Rae says:

    Donated! I didn’t have much to spare since I’m pretty poor myself, but hope my $5 helps.

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