British Columbia

'There's people around that care:' Thanksgiving at Vancouver's Union Gospel Mission

The meal coincides with Homelessness Action Week and comes at a time when a record number of people don't have a place to call home across Metro Vancouver.

Organization preparing 130 turkeys to serve meals to city's most vulnerable

The Edmonton District and Labour Council has hosted a barbecue for the unemployed in the city's inner city for 28 years. (Union Gospel Mission/Twitter)

The Union Gospel Mission in Vancouver is once again hosting its annual Thanksgiving meal, meeting the demand from an increasing number of vulnerable people in the region.

Numbers released from Metro Vancouver's latest homeless count reported 3,605 people without a home, up 30 per cent from the last count in 2014.

The statistics are not lost on people like Jeremy Hunka, who works for the Union Gospel Mission (UGM), which provides shelter, food, outreach and spiritual support for the Vancouver's homeless.

Hunka says Thanksgiving can be a tough day for people coping with homelessness.

'Cast aside'

"Many people that are homeless feel cast aside, forgotten or abandoned by society," he said.

"They're not used to having a big event for them and this will remind them that there's people around them that care."

The UGM has prepared almost 1000 kilograms of turkey for meals, which it will offer with mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie and chocolates on Monday from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. PT.

"There's a lot of people that don't think they have a lot to be thankful for on Thanksgiving and we want to change that," said Hunka.

The meal coincides with Homelessness Action Week in Vancouver, which aims to "raise public awareness on issues of homelessness and rally local solutions."

Provincial and local governments continue to come up with schemes to try and reduce the amount of people who struggle to find appropriate housing.

Recently the province announced that 600 modular housing units in Vancouver would be built, with each unit containing a kitchen and bathroom while laundry and other amenities would be shared in the buildings.

Vancouver has changed its bylaws to help expedite the building of the units.

Meanwhile, some people have taken matters into their own hands by living in vans or even digging out bunkers and, of course, relying on food and services from places like the UGM.

With files from Brenna Rose