Christmas is showing up at Union Gospel Mission a little later this year, to ensure the entire community feels blessed in multiple ways.
"We're having a Christmas meal served on New Year's Eve and we'll open the doors at 11:00," says Mark Kelm, the senior chaplain at Union Gospel Mission (UGM). "Usually we get anywhere between 200 and 300 people for the meal."
UGM offers a chapel service first followed by a warm and special Christmas dinner for lunch.
"On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, there's a lot of places that are having their meal. We found that come New Year's Eve, people are still hungry and need to be cared for. A week after Christmas, they can still have a special meal to come to."
For this Christmas dinner meal, UGM is in need of roughly 20 volunteers.
"We have different stations to be cared for during the day. We need a few volunteers in the chapel as people put their hands up that need prayer and they can fill out the prayer card. We have people downstairs in the classroom who are praying for those requests. We also need a few volunteers in our drop-in to welcome people. We need some volunteers for the kitchen to help with the meals."
People who are interested in volunteering from either 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. or 10:30 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. can call Rosanne at 204-943-9904 ext. 226.
"It's more than just a meal. We want to give them bread for the stomach but we want to give them the bread of life. The word of God and the hope that's found in Christ at Christmas time. At this time, for people it can emphasize losses and grief, especially at Christmas time so we want people to know that there's hope in Christ and healing that can be found in Jesus."
Beware of Phone Scam
"We got a phone call from a distressed gentleman this morning," says Martin Chidwick, the Development Manager at UGM. "He received a phone call last night from what sounded like a sweet lady asking for money to be donated to UGM at Christmas. The man gave his credit card number to the person."
Chidwick shares that UGM never phones people asking for donations for the ministry.
"We want your listeners to know that UGM doesn't take the initiative to call its supporters asking for money. We're just blessed to receive what funding you're led to give to us by the Holy Spirit."