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Thousands expected to turn out for turkey

By Saturday, chef Randy Spark and his volunteers will have roasted, carved and served 158 turkeys for the annual Christmas dinner at the Downtown Eastside’s Union Gospel Mission (UGM).

By Saturday, chef Randy Spark and his volunteers will have roasted, carved and served 158 turkeys for the annual Christmas dinner at the Downtown Eastside’s Union Gospel Mission (UGM).

This year marks the 80th anniversary of the event, which usually draws about 3,000 diners.

“The people that come in — they’re very appreciative,” said Spark, who has been a chef with UGM for nearly eight years.

All food is donated, or bought with the help of donors.

Volunteers lend a helping hand in the kitchen, too. Vancouver Community College culinary school students helped carve the mountain of turkeys on Thursday.

Feast attendees will wait in line inside the UGM chapel, out of the rain, said UGM’s Derek Weiss.

What’s more, the Christmas dinner is a great way for those in need to connect with other UGM services, said Weiss.

 
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