The Thanksgiving meal bag tradition started with 40 bags in 1958 and exceeded 10,000 bags by 2015.

For many, the Union Gospel Mission will always be associated with a Thanksgiving tradition that began in 1958: communal meals served to all comers and holiday food bags distributed to families in the community. The task of assembling these famous Thanksgiving bags falls to hundreds of experienced volunteers who turn up year after year to help the Mission staff. In 2015 more than 250 volunteers worked to assemble and give away 10,223 Thanksgiving bags, a far cry from the 40 delivered the first year.

The tradition goes on, growing in scope each season. Eventually, in addition to the on-site meals and Thanksgiving bag distribution, the Mission serves Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners to low-income seniors living in high-rises near the Mission, filling an important need on days when no food service is available.

Photos courtesy of the Union Gospel Mission.