Durham, N.C. — The Durham Rescue Mission staged its annual Easter celebration for hundreds of low-income people on Friday.
About 300 volunteers gathered at the mission early Friday to set up, prepare and serve barbecue pork and hot dogs to an estimated 1,860 homeless, working poor and needy people.
"They're doing a very good job for the community and for people like us," Charles Bell said.
"It doesn’t just help us. It helps the homeless people at the same time who don’t have anywhere to stay," Tacora Allen said.
"Being a single mother is kind of hard, so whatever help I can get is very accepted," Jessica Culbreth said.
The mission provided free clothes and 500 filled grocery bags for families to take home, and more than 1,000 children 12 and under received Easter baskets and enjoyed a variety of carnival games with free prizes.
"The whole goal for us it to give back to the community, which gives to us," said Tony Gooch, Durham Rescue Mission's director of development operations.
Volunteer Angela Jimerson said the excitement of the children at the event is contagious.
"They’re looking for that one toy, that one thing. It’s almost like it’s Christmas, but it’s just Easter," Jimerson said.
Mission director Ernie Mills agreed that helping children enjoy the spirit of Easter is one of the main benefits of the event.
"I enjoy seeing their faces light up and seeing the joy in their hearts, and that makes my Easter for me," Mills said. "When the kids smile, mama's smiling too."
The Durham Rescue Mission is the Triangle’s largest and oldest shelter providing free food, safe shelter, clean clothing, counseling, vocational training and job placement daily for more than 350 men, women and children.