Union Gospel Mission serves up community at annual barbecue
Union Gospel Mission hosted its largest event of the year Saturday, serving roughly 4,000 meals in Vancouver's Crab Park.
The mission's annual summer barbecue featured summer favourites including hamburgers, smokies, pasta salad and freezies. It also featured a sense of community for homeless and low-income residents of the Downtown Eastside.
"This is amazing when they do this," said one participant, who did not give her name. "Everybody gets together and we get to bond and know one another. It's an amazing program. They do a lot around this community."
UGM Spokesman Jeremy Hunka said the annual barbecue offers an opportunity to celebrate summertime for people who might not get it otherwise.
"When you are in poverty, or homeless, or struggling, it can be really difficult to see outside of that struggle and that pain, and that can really kind of trap you in the circumstance that you're in," Hunka said.
"This is about bringing people here, connecting with them, and saying, 'Yeah, you're in a struggle right now. This is a brief moment where you can celebrate summer and realize that, hey, we're here to help. We can connect you to some of our programs.'"
In past years, the UGM barbecue has been held at Oppenheimer Park. This year, organizers moved it to Crab Park, saying they didn't want to disturb those currently living in the homeless camp there.