Thank You Thursday: Fourth Annual Shelter Gala Highlights

Date 30 Nov, 2023

We hosted our fourth annual GivingTuesday Shelter Gala this week, and it was an incredible day of celebrating the resilience and strength of our neighbours in the Downtown Eastside.

We’re so happy to share that we’ve received over $62,000 in donations for our GivingTuesday Shelter Gala!

GivingTuesday is such a special day here at FIRST because we get to host this unique event that highlights why we honour and celebrate the people we serve.

And we couldn’t do it without you. Thank you to everyone who joined in by celebrating with a gift and helping spread the word. Your generosity truly makes a tangible difference in the DTES and helps us continue our life-saving work.

For the fourth year in a row, residents at our shelter were treated to a delicious Shelter residents also received gifts and enjoyed a showing of Christmas movies. And for the second year, we brought gourmet meals to the streets of the DTES so that community members could also enjoy a special dish.

*We chose not to photograph our community members in order to respect their privacy and autonomy, in keeping with ethical practices of community engagement in the Downtown Eastside.

This special event couldn’t have happened without the help of some wonderful organizations and individuals.

Thank you to Odlum Brown and Goldbeck Recruiting for returning as Shelter Gala Partners! We’re so grateful for your wholehearted support of our vision and mission.

Special thanks to Chef Billy Nguyen for preparing and cooking three delicious courses for shelter residents. And of course, thank you for serving your amazing braised beef curry dish to over 200 community members from our food truck at lunch! We’re so grateful that you’ve joined us again for the third year in a row. Your care for the community is deeply appreciated. And thanks to Sysco and Two Rivers Meats for donating ingredients for these meals.

We’d also like to thank the FIRST UNITED Board Members who joined Chef Billy and FIRST UNITED staff at our food truck lunch service. Thank you, David Walkem, Jacob Black-Lock, The Rev. Dr. Brian Thorpe, Dr. Heather F. Clarke, and Elizabeth Kerklaan for serving up warm bowls of curry and handing out socks to the community on that chilly afternoon! 

It was such a delight to see shelter residents get the opportunity to relax and enjoy themselves. Instead of standing in line to receive a meal, staff served food right to their tables. Thank you to Table Sponsors Robert Allan Ltd. and Gilmore Park United Church Board!

Each resident also received a gift bag filled with Christmas goodies, including chocolates, a special message from sponsors, chapstick, gum, hair scrunchies, and more. Thank you to Gift Sponsors Knox United Church, UBC Women’s Hiking Group, and Lakeview Elementary School!

The evening wrapped in the perfect way—with a showing of Christmas movies.

Overall, it was a great day and a successful event. When we host our Shelter Gala, we hope to help residents and community members feel celebrated. By the end of the night, we leave feeling inspired by their resilience and strength.

Thank you again for helping make this event happen.

If you haven’t given to our Shelter Gala but still want to support our work, you can give here to support our Christmas campaign. All donations will be matched up to $190,000 until December 31!

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