Happy Mother's Day! Downtown Eastside moms get free photo session with their babies
Union Gospel Mission says photo sessions were 'an opportunity to feel valued and empowered'
Professional photographers in Vancouver captured candid photos of Downtown Eastside moms and their babies as part of a free portraiture session.
The Union Gospel Mission (UGM) contacted the photographers through social media to request their services last week, asking to have the photos ready in time for Mother's Day.
"We wanted to do something really heartfelt for the moms currently in our sanctuary stabilization program," UGM wrote on its Instagram page.
"This blessing will provide each mom with beautiful, professional photos. But most importantly, it was an opportunity to feel valued and empowered."
Deanna Thomas was one of the mothers who got to have her picture taken with her daughter, 10-month-old Christa.
"It's like the awesomest feeling," Thomas said. "The images are beautiful. And I just love it to have pictures taken that will be there forever."
Thomas, who has struggled with addiction, said when she first got pregnant with her daughter, she wasn't sure if she would be able to keep her and care for her.
But as soon as she saw her after she was born, Thomas decided there was no way she was going to let her go.
Thomas is now taking part in UGM's sanctuary program, which helps mothers working toward recovery by offering a temporary home for them and their children.
"It really warms my heart to be able to have these photos of me and my daughter," she said.