It’s tough being a pro blogger and it’s even tougher to live like a dot com mogul. After all, it’s hard keeping up with the lifestyle when you eat $60 hamburgers on a regular basis. Now that the Canadian dollar is at par with the US greenback, our Adsense cheques have effectively shriveled up several percentage points as well.

Feeling the crunch, I went out with the usual blogging crew to Union Gospel Mission to see what a free lunch would look like. Those of you in Vancouver are probably already familiar with the non-profit organization and the work they do for the people who have fallen on hard times. For anyone who has never heard of Union Gospel Mission, here’s the blurb that we received from UGM’s Kevan Gilbert:

Union Gospel Mission is committed to caring for the hungry, hurting and homeless of Greater Vancouver, through drug and alcohol recovery, community outreach, low-cost thrift stores, and emergency meals, shelter and clothing. Founded in 1940 as a small soup kitchen, UGM now has satellite facilities in Surrey, New Westminster, Mission and downtown Vancouver, and provides services from employment training to affordable housing solutions. UGM serves over 280,000 meals each year, and provides shelter for almost 10,000 individuals a year. To find out more, visit


Union Gospel Mission was nice enough to invite us in for a hot meal, but before that, we were taken on a tour of the rather expansive facilities. In addition to providing food to the people in the area, UGM also has an outreach program, a children’s drop-in centre, a drug and alcohol rehabilitation program, and an affordable housing complex.

Prior to entering the building, I faintly heard the conversation between two people on East Cordova. It went a little something like this:

  Person A: “Isn’t that John Chow? You know, the dot com mogul interviewed in the Ming Pao Magazine a little while ago?”
  Person B: “Yeah, didn’t they say that he makes over $17,000 a month?”
  Person A: “He’s walking into Union Gospel Mission for a free lunch! Told you that story had to be fake. There’s no way he’s making that much.”


In all seriousness, lunch was served in buffet style and it was actually quite good. It truly was a complete meal with a salad bar, choice of entree(s), drinks, and desserts. The desserts were pastries donated by Starbucks, which also donated the coffee. Stephen Fung thought the food was so good that he totally loaded up his TWO plates with lasagna, salad, bread, and a pork cutlet thing topped with ham and cheese. He ate so much that he probably left very little for the people lining up outside! (I kid, I kid.) The rest of us, naturally, had fairly modest servings.



Pictured above are the crew in attendance. From left are right are me, Ed Lau, UGM’s Kevan Gilbert, Stephen Fung, John Chow, Greg Morgan, and Danny Chang. Not pictured (because she’s taking the picture) is John’s wife, Sarah. Sally had prior engagements.

It should be noted that our lunch was different from the lunch served to guests who line up outside. Kevan clarifies:

As the guests from the street come in, they get to enjoy a bowl of soup, a sandwich, salad, a pastry and some coffee. The meals that we ate are geared towards the residents of our alcohol and drug recovery program — hence the emphasis on hearty and nutritious food.

It Pays to Give Generously

I’m a firm believer that you should give back to the community and lend a helping hand to those less fortunate than yourself. The Union Gospel Mission does some great work in providing a holistic solution for the hungry, hurting, and homeless of Greater Vancouver.

John Chow will match donations to UGM on a dollar for dollar basis up until Friday, and everyone who donates will get a backlink in a future recap post. But wait, there’s more.


If you donate to Union Gospel Mission (they take PayPal) between now and Friday, email the receipt to John, and post a comment here saying you have done so, I’ll enter you into a random draw for a UGM baseball cap and Nalgene-style water bottle. This additional “contest” is open only to residents of Greater Vancouver, because the cost of shipping anywhere else would be more than what they’re worth anyways.

Give and ye shall receive.

Here is the direct link to the UGM donation page and here is the UGM Facebook Profile.