Christmas came early for residents of the Downtown Eastside as the Union Gospel Mission and Glowbal Restaurant Group got together to set a table for 2000. The event took place on Wednesday outside the UGM building on Princess Street between Hastings and Cordova. The menu featured hand-carved honey glazed ham, oven roasted beef strip loin with traditional festive gravy, buttered vegetables with fresh herbs, roasted-garlic mashed potatoes, fresh-baked buns, pasta and chocolate mousse tarts.
The Downtown Eastside is the poorest neighborhood in all of Canada. I grew up in this neighborhood. As a matter of fact, the house I grew up in is right across the street from the UGM. It’s been quite a journey to say the least. The British Properties of West Vancouver (my current home) are far removed from the Downtown Eastside but I will never forget where I came from. Congrats to Glowbal and UGM for helping to bring the spirit of Christmas to those who really need it.
Glowbal really went out of their way to make this Christmas one to remember for the homeless and hungry of Vancouver. The tent was big enough to hold 700 people per seating and was decorated with festive Christmas trees and lights. Guests were serenaded by carolers and the Vancouver Firefighters Band. At the end of the meal, guests were given a stocking full of small gifts for Christmas. To take the dining experience to the next level, the mission set up a valet shopping cart service and the SPCA was there to care of the dogs. The homeless were able to enjoy their meal knowing they wouldn’t have to worry about their belongings or pets.
An event like this is a great reminder on the true meaning of Christmas. Too often, we take what we have for granted and forget that there are many people less fortunate then us. For 2000 who sat down to eat, this was their first ever fine dining experience. Here are some photos of the event. The UGM uploaded a bunch more to their Facebook page. If you’re not a fan yet, you should become one. Merry Christmas!