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Union Gospel Mission annual Christmas meal serves 2,000 plates

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The Union Gospel Mission served around 2,000 plates of turkey at its annual Christmas meal on Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside Saturday.

Spokesperson Nicole Mucci said this year’s meal was a much-needed event for the community.

“There are hundreds and hundreds of families experiencing poverty and really struggling to make ends meet,” she said. “Many of them wouldn’t be able to have a turkey dinner.”

Mucci said UGM was expecting to see more families at this year’s meal due to rising living costs.

“The kind of demographic of people that you might expect to come to a community meal like this at UGM has certainly changed this year,” she said.

The Christmas meal has been around for the last 30 years, serving both long-term and new community members.

It was Abdulkarim Hassan’s first time attending the event. Hassan fled Dubai earlier this year and moved to Canada in August due to safety concerns. He was forced to leave behind his wife and three children.

“It’s very difficult, but sometimes, somebody has to make a sacrifice,” he said.

Hassan said UGM has welcomed him, providing him with support while his loved ones are thousands of miles away.

“I consider myself to be a fallen apple, and having UGM as a collector, a place to have a nice meal prepared with love, is something I couldn’t ask for more,” he said. 

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