BBQ gives DTES an opportunity to celebrate Summer this weekend

Jul 13 2017, 8:18 pm

Summer isn’t always easy for everyone, especially not for the homeless, or low income households like 42-year-old Louisa and her family.

Raising two young children on a fixed income, Louisa’s summer is often less about celebration and more a matter of simply getting by.

“We’re always choosing between two things,” Louisa explained. “What’s more important…shoes or clothes, clothes and food or barbecues or something else?

“It’s always choosing, all the time.”

But thanks to the Union Gospel Mission (UGM), Louisa’s family will have a chance to celebrate summer on Saturday, as the organization hosts their biggest event of the year.

“Our Summer BBQ brings a little relief and restoration to families and allows our Outreach Workers to connect to offer long-term support.” said UGM’s Jeremy Hunka.

Up to 5,000 meals will be served to those who are homeless or at risk of homelessness as well as low income families.

Christmas dinner at the Union Gospel Mission (Andrew Taran/UGM)

Union Gospel Mission (Andrew Taran/UGM)

They’ll get to take advantage of face painting, bouncy castles and a mini-carnival of games, all meant to give those in the Downtown Eastside a much needed moment of rest and relaxation.

Christmas dinner at the Union Gospel Mission (Andrew Taran/UGM)

(Andrew Taran/UGM)

“Homelessness and poverty don’t take a summer holiday and children are often hit hardest,” Hunka explained.

“Studies show the child poverty rate in the Downtown Eastside is a staggering 64%.”

homeless girl

Stephane Bidouze/Shutterstock

This event is made possible thanks to Rogers Sugar Vancouver of Lantic Inc., which operates just around the corner from UGM.

“Rogers Sugar Vancouver is thrilled to give back where we work,” said Gary Mustvedt of Rogers Sugar Vancouver.

“We have been in the Downtown Eastside more than a century and see the struggles of many local residents.”

Residents of Vancouver's Downtown Eastside pictured in 2016 (Adam Melnyk/Shutterstock)

Residents of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside (Adam Melnyk/Shutterstock)

“This is one way we give back and we hope to have the privilege of continuing to sponsor the event in the years to come.”

The meal includes:

  • 5,000 Hamburgers
  • 5,000 Smokies
  • 1,250 lbs. Coleslaw
  • 1,250 lbs. Pasta Salad
  • 5,000 Cans of Pop
  •  5,000 Freezies


“It’s something we look forward to,” said Louisa. “Everyone knows it’s going to be good, it’s UGM.”

Happy Summer DTES!

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