“Poverty doesn’t take a summer break”; thousands of meals served at Oppenheimer Park fair

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Thousands of meals are being served down at the Oppenheimer Park festival this afternoon.

It’s thanks to the Union Gospel Mission and their biggest fair of the year, their spokesperson Jeremy Hunka says struggles for people living under poverty don’t take a summer break.

“A lot of people are celebrating summer vacations, but people around the Downtown Eastside don’t really have that option,” Hunka adds.

“We know that one in five children in BC lives below the poverty line, in the Downtown Eastside the child poverty rate is actually at 64% according to a recent study by First Call,” he says. “Those are really concerning numbers and when we can connect to those lower-income families during the summer when other services like meal programs and mentor ship at schools aren’t available, it goes a long way. Our outreach workers an connect them to our mentor ship or education or after-school programs. That way, we’re reminding them that we’re here in an emergency, or for anything that they need right through the year.”

Hunka says the UGM is cooking up 5,000 smokies, 5,000 hamburgers, 2,500 pounds of salad, 5,000 cans of pop and freezies, going along with face-painting, and carnival games.

He says anyone who wants to help either donate or volunteer can visit UGM.ca.