Thanksgiving Community Meal Returns to Vancouver Harbour Light

Staff ready to hand out Thanksgiving meals

After a three-year absence, the Thanksgiving Community Meal is returning to The Salvation Army’s Harbour Light in Vancouver. This event provides a Thanksgiving celebration and meal for people experiencing hardship.

In the past few years, the Thanksgiving event at Harbour Light had been modified due to the pandemic. Instead of hosting the usual large holiday lunch gatherings, the community meal clients would instead receive their meal to-go. Thankfully, this year, the gatherings are coming back.

Community Engagement Coordinator Cindy Cheung believes the connections that grow as a result of the return of Thanksgiving meal, are significant to those attending.

“Everybody is welcome to come. We know that affordability is a big challenge these days.”

“I think it’s great that we get to do this in person once again. When we did takeout, it was very different because we didn’t get to celebrate together. Now that it is in person we can celebrate together, and our guests can have a place where they can feel like they’re having a Thanksgiving meal with their friends,” Cindy said.

Harbour Light hosts community meals daily. However, for special holidays such as the upcoming Thanksgiving meal, the dynamic of how the meals are served will change to make the guests feel more comfortable.

“During these holidays, we serve guests as if they are eating in a restaurant. Normally they would line up food court style and then they would find seating themselves. This time, we’ll have table captains to set up the tables and volunteers who will act as waiters or waitresses. The guests will be assigned specific tables to sit at and our volunteers will bring their food to them. So it’s a little bit of a different experience than the regular community meal, it will be a little bit more pampering,” Cindy added.

Preparation for the event has been underway for over a month thanks to the hard work of the Harbour Light staff and volunteers. Cindy expressed her gratitude to all those who have made this meal possible.

“We are grateful for every partner and sponsor that we have, that supports our meals, either directly or indirectly. We are also grateful for our volunteers who are taking maybe two to three hours of their day to help us, we really appreciate that. I feel like the impact that they have is a lot greater than what they can imagine and realize,” Cindy said.

“During these holidays, we serve guests as if they are eating in a restaurant.”

In addition, Cindy wanted to highlight the work that the kitchen staff put into preparing the meals.

At the Thanksgiving event, 500 meals will be served. It will take place on Sunday, Oct. 8, starting at 11 a.m. at The Salvation Army Vancouver Harbour Light. The event is open to everyone.

“Everybody is welcome to come. We know that affordability is a big challenge these days. If people want to get a meal and celebrate with other people, they are more than welcome to come through our doors and celebrate with us,” Cindy said.


By Juan Romero